Saturday, April 28, 2012

Project 13 Report On Colaboration


My group and I have been using various available tools in our quest to collaborate without face to face contact.  Early in the semester we relied on emails and phone texting pretty heavily for our communication.     Everything was great as long as we were authorized to meet each week face to face.  When that was halted by Dr. Strange, we had to resort to other means for collaboration of the minute project details.  At first, we tried Skype.  Skype is a great tool for one on one collaboration or meetings.  However, for our entire group we decided to use Google Hangout, because it allows for multiple users to have a multi-way conversation. Using Google Hangout along with texting and phone calls, we were able to successfully complete our latest project.  My group and I will be meeting via Google Hangout on Sunday to tidy up this last project.  I am honestly looking forward to it.


I personally love the things that Google has to offer.  Google is fast becoming a sort of "one stop internet shop."  The tools Google offers with Google+ rival most of the tool type websites I encounter.  In the end, I think we are probably just grazing the surface of the collaboration tools the internet has to offer.  The next thing I can't wait to try out is a screen capture program.  I think screen capture has mass potential for my future classroom.

Blog Post 13

I can't go without technology right now!

This weeks blog post assignment has proven to be impossible.  I assume the point Dr. Strange is trying to make has something to do with how much our lives have become intertwined with technology.  I have to give him props for his perfect timing.  Had this assignment been given earlier in the semester, I may have actually carried out the order.  Right now I'm in a race against time to try and get everything wrapped up before the start of summer classes.  I really don't have a day to waste.  A day wasted at this point could be the difference in a letter grade.  Honestly, I feel like it is sad that I have to worry so much about a grade verses just learning.  Why do my professors insist on packing in so much crap at the end of the semester when we should just be riding all our prior hard work to the finnish line?  Maybe it's because they know we've already put in so much work, they know most of us won't bail out on extra work at the end.

internet service crisis

 Anyway, I do not feel as tied down to my computer or my phone as I think many other people are. First of all, I like to take my time as best I can with technology.  I like to take the time to learn a tool or program instead of trying out everything all at once. Second, I did not even have a phone till I was 21.  It would take me no time to adjust back to the way things were.  The only thing I think I would miss is my phone book and email.  I don't do Facebook.

Facebook is addictive

The question about our future students never having had to go through a techno-fast is an interesting one.  The whole first half of my life was spent in the mountains of North Alabama relatively free from technology as we know it today.  I would imagine our newer generations have never experienced life without TV, phones, or computers.  I have often wondered what would happen if one of those massive disasters occurred like they talk about on the educational channels, and there was no power anywhere.  What would our youth do?  On the other hand, I think it would be a tragedy if we took technology out of the hands of our students.  If anything, we need to get the under privileged children caught up.  Make technology more easily attainable, but that probably won't happen in a capitalist economy.    

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Project 15 Smart Board Instruction Part 2

My Personal Learning Network: Final Report

Since I last reported, I have made an extensive effort to grow my PLN.  I found it to be a lot less labor intensive than I previously thought.  Each time I visit a website that I feel like exploring further, I save it to one of the many facilitators technology has to offer.  I created a Symbaloo account, but I find it much easier to add bookmarks on my computer for now.  Later, I plan to go back and add some of the more relevant websites to my Symbaloo.  The advantage of Symbaloo is that it allows me to categorize websites according to where they fit into my life.


My Twitter following has grown tremendously since I began to follow others more freely.  I still don't use Twitter like Dr. Strange probably wants me to, but I have used it as an easy means of finding certain answers to questions I don't know.  Even though Twitter is a super fast way to find others interested in the same things I am, I still don't feel like it is the rock of my PLN.

At the end of the day, I feel like my PLN is growing in the right direction.  I have found many valuable educational tools I plan to implement into my future classrooms.  I have even begun using my PLN in many other endeavors of my life.  I feel like I have a worldwide support team that has my back all the time.  I don't get frustrated when my google searches come up dry, because I can call upon my PLN for the really tough questions.  This assignment has opened my eyes to the advantages of creating digital relationships.  I will continue to grow and adapt my PLN as I proceed through life.

C4T # 4

Last week was supposed to be a routine C4T assignment.  However, I encountered a few problems with the assignment.  I commented on Anthony Capps' class blog called St. Elmo Explorers.  The first problem was that I had to search extensively for a place to leave a comment.  When I finally found a good post, I left a comment.  When I pressed the submit button, my comment disappeared.  I originally thought that it was just in some sort of mediating process, so I did not create a summary draft.  I thought I could just come back this week and recover the memory of what my comment was.  I was wrong.  Unfortunately, I don't remember much about my comment.  I do remember asking a few questions about Anthony's use of blogging in his classroom.  How do I keep my comments from disappearing in the future?

St Elmo Explorers

St. Elmo Explorers is a place where Anthony Capps posts assignments, resources, and prompts for his history class at St. Elmo school.  Each of his students have their own blogs as a means for rough writing with public critique.  I think Anthony's concept of how blogging can be used as a tool in the classroom is ideal for what I want to do with my classroom.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Creativity and Curiosity: My Thoughts- Special Post #12A

When I was in the Marines, I was always the one who asked the never ending "what if" questions.  My platoon would always get so mad at me for being curious and trying to gain knowledge from the experienced combat veterans.  The phrase of the day would be, "What if grasshoppers had machine-guns Bailey? Birds probably wouldn't mess with them any more."  I learned that curiosity in the classroom is one thing, but curiosity in a combat zone can get you killed.  Curiosity can kill the cat in certain situations.

Me in the Corps

Nick Saban once said that most humans exist only to get by with the least amount of effort possible; rarely do people actively strive to reach their full potential.  If curiosity fuels creativity, then creativity creates work.  Most people including teachers are not willing to put in the work required for encouraging creativity.  In turn, they are not willing to facilitate curiosity.  In the past, schools have suppressed curiosity and creativity for many reasons.  One reason is that creativity was expensive.  Technology has negated much of that expense through the use of computers and software verses concrete materials.  The more teachers start to understand how technology can be a cheap platform for creativity, the more creativity will be encouraged.  Another reason creativity has been suppressed is that many teachers are just plain lazy and don't want to put in the extra work required to facilitate curiosity and creativity in their classrooms.  Many teachers today are not willing to take the time to research and learn how technology can facilitate creativity in a much cheaper way than ever before possible.

the future belongs to the curious

Curriculum can be created to increase both curiosity and creativity, but once again, many teachers are so set in their traditional teaching methods, they are not willing to change.  Video assignments, group projects, and blogging are all ways to incite creativity.  Curious teachers create curious students.  It's important for teachers to lead by example.  When a student asks a question that the teacher has no answer for, I think that teacher should look the answer up right then and there in front of the students.  This shows students that it's ok not to know the answer, but it's important to know where to find the answer and to not waste time in finding it.

curious brains

I personally feel that some people are just blessed with a better creative ability than others for the same reasons some people are better at math or english.  I have tried many times to play the guitar to no avail.  However, I feel like writing has always come pretty natural.  Still, playing music and writing music is two different things altogether.  That is why some people write songs while others play and or sing them.  Some very rare minds are able to do both.

Can I increase my capacity for creativity?  I think I can.  In todays world of technology and user friendly tools, raw creativity has become a much more attainable thing for me.  I find it much easier to create in a field that interests me.  Offensive football is a much more preferable canvas for my creativity.  I love to see a football team come together and win games by using the plays, schemes, and techniques I have created.  I have had this opportunity only once in my life, and I have been striving to get myself back in that sort of situation ever since.  My ultimate goal is to coach college football.  I plan to use whatever creative ability I have to foster an offense that will be unstoppable.

Elspeth Bishop is a writer for She was born and raised in Colorado and now enjoys skiing, playing tennis, and hiking in the mountains of Salt Lake City, Utah.  I do not plan to contact her at this time.  I'm swamped with wonderful unexpected assignments like this one!  :-)

Project 16 Progress Report

man pulling hair out

My teammate Katie Penton wrote this on her blog.  Her post reflects everything I have to say in regards to my progress on Project 16.  

"I am not quite sure what I am going to do for project 16. My group and I have mainly been focused on project 15. I have a lot to do these last few weeks of school, so I have been taking it week by week. My group and I plan to have project 15 completed at the beginning of next week. Once 15 is completed we are going to get a jump start on 16. So far the only thing I have done for project #16 is watch Dr. Strange's video "Preparing for Project 16." At the beginning of next week I plan to watch the rest of the videos and meet with my group."

Blog Post 12


In middle and high schools today, sports or extracurricular activities play a big role in the overall educational experience of their students.  Many teachers will be asked if they will be willing to take on the responsibility of being a coach or sponsor of a club or sports team at some point in their career.  Technology is not only infiltrating classrooms, but it is becoming a major aspect in sports when it comes to maintaining the competitive edge and bringing the pride of winning to the student body.  Everything from computer software to specialized equipment can give a team an edge in competition.

For this assignment, you will view How Technology is Affecting Sports.  Think about how new innovations in technology can improve accuracy in officiating and take further burden away from official decisions.

Next, visit this website.

In a new blogpost, describe how this software or a substitute could improve the competitive edge of a sports team you may coach one day.  Do you feel like this could help your team win?  What particular sport would software like this be useful for?


More and more high school and middle school coaches are adopting technology into their programs in an attempt to gain a competitive edge over their competition.  According to the website How Technology is Affecting Sports, "If it weren’t for technology we wouldn’t have the instant replay, the headset for coaches to throw, or even the wireless microphone for our referees to mix up their words on. However, technology has come a long way since those early discoveries."  It may be a long time before instant replay becomes a part of high school sports; if ever, because new "micro location" technologies are being developed that can track player and ball movements all over the field of play.  This may be the future of sports officiating, and could end up leapfrogging instant replay if and when high schools decide to try and eliminate some of the burden on officials.

tech in soccer

Hudl is a specialized software program that was originally developed for the game of football.  However, it has also been utilized by basketball, baseball, and various other sports teams since its creation.  Hudl is used by coaches as a means of communicating information to their players.  So many coaches in various sports have been utilizing video in their preparation for competition for years.  Hudl allows coaches to break down that video data into a more efficient presentation for their players.  It also allows coaches to communicate with their players over the internet using voice over video, blogs, special notes, add on graphics, and general team announcements to build an overall smarter team.  Anyone who has played team sports knows that a team that is on the same page gets more accomplished and inevitably wins more games.

hudl usage examples

hudl usage examples

hudl usage examples

Hudl also helps coaches reduce the amount of time spent on preparation by automatically processing raw video data instead of them having to process the data manually.  Because Hudl is an online account based program, coaches can coach from anywhere they have internet access.  This allows coaches to spend more time at home with their families, which is a plus for any coach.  The job of coaching is evolving so fast today that those coaches that remain stuck behind the technology curb will find it difficult to keep up in the future.    

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

C4K Summary for April

world blog challenge

Ashley's Blog

This week I was chosen as mentor for Ashley while she engages in the World Blog Challenge.  I checked her blog out, and her latest post was a Prezi presentation she had created about herself.  I discovered that Ashley is a very good writer for an eleven year old.  She is from Canada and is an avid outdoors enthusiast.  She enjoys sports very much and she loves school as well.  She only had three total post on her blog, so I assume she is a novice blogger as I am.

In my comment on her bio presentation, I told her that I was very excited to be her mentor for the challenge.  I suggested that she write a post about her many hunting trips.  She said in her presentation that she went hunting every spring and fall.  I asked her what she hunted for in particular.  I look forward to the next 2 weeks of mentoring over the internet.  This will be the first time I have actually assisted someone directly through the internet.  She is so far away, and I just think that is too cool.


Week 2 of the World Blog Challenge came with a bit of disappointment.  Ashley had not created another post for her blog, so I requested another student.  My new assigned student was a 12 year old boy named Dustin from Vermont.  Dustin's blog site was epitome of what an average 12 year old boy is experiencing in life. I commented on his most recent post entitled $100 Bill.  In his post, he declares his everlasting love for money and riches.  He says that if he was rich, his troubles would be know more.  I'm sure his viewpoint will change at some point in his future.

hundred dollar bill

I tried to stay as positive as possible in my response.  After all, he is only 12.  I didn't want to just shoot down his dreams.  His perspective of money and riches is sure to mature with age.  I hope his spelling and grammar will follow suit.  I tried to encourage him to write a post about one of his many outdoor activities.  Maybe next week I will see a much better post.


Week 3 of the World Blog Challenge was a pleasant surprise.  Dustin posted a new post called Bike Issues On The Road.  In his post Dustin talked about the issues bike riders face on roads without bike paths.  He discussed how texting and driving has led to more bikers being hit by cars.

funny cartoon

I told Dustin that I agreed with him about texting and driving.  I also told him that he should check with his local city counsel about getting more bike paths put in.  I was proud of the fact that I got some feedback from my student this week.  I feel like I may have sparked some interest in a kid that might carry on throughout his life.  I told him that he should continue to add posts to his blog even if no one comments.  Unfortunately, his spelling and grammar are still a bit youthful.  I tried to relay that to him as softly as I could, and I told him the more he writes the better he will get at it.  Overall, I was pleased with my World Blog Challenge mentoring experience.

Final C4K

This week I watched a first grader named Shelly's first online video.  She was very cute to say the least.  While her video was very concise and to the point, she had exceptional presence on camera.  She didn't seem to be shy at all.  I'm jealous.  I get so nervous on camera.  Anyway, she described her wonderful experience at camp.  She apparently had a great time there.  Shelly is a student in Room 6 from Pt. England School in Auckland, New Zealand.

I told her that I really enjoyed her video, and that I would check in on her from time to time to see what her next production would be.  I hope her teacher lets her check out my blog, because first graders tend to tell the truth no matter how bad it may be.  All these kids make me realize how far behind the curb I really am when it comes to technology.  I hate to say it, but I'm almost sad this is the last C4K assignment.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Blog Post 11

For this weeks blog post I watched First Graders in Ms. Cassidy's Class.  Ms. Cassidy's class is from Canada.  Her students learn through blogging.  They are 1st graders.  This is amazing!  She even has implemented the use of hand held gaming type devises.  If your a teacher looking for reassurances in terms of using technology in the classroom, check out her video.


I also watched a Skype interview of Ms. Cassidy that Dr. Strange and some of his students made in 2010.  It was a very well thought out interview in which Dr. Strange and his students asked Ms. Cassidy questions relative to her own classroom.  One of the big questions was in reference to security measures for keeping students safe and keeping what they view within the perimeters of relative media.  Ms. Cassidy was very spoken about teaching the proper use of the "online community" early and often.  She basically said that there was no perfect system.  Each teacher must find their own system in which they protect their students and still be in compliance with their schools policy.

Another thing Ms. Cassidy talked about really hit home with me.  She said that the thing that makes the internet great is the ability for users to provide input in more ways than one.  Some people prefer to contribute via video while others prefer to write using blogs.  Some people prefer to use social networks like Twitter.  The fact that the internet is a dynamic facilitator is what makes it such a great platform for learning.

Between Ms. Cassidy and Dr. Strange's reiterations, the fact that teachers must be life long learners is starting to seriously imbed into my brain.  The more I learn about collaborative learning, the more I understand how important the continual learning of the facilitator can impact the overall experiences of the students.  Honestly, I feel like this assignment is a bit of a broken record.  I get it Dr. Strange.  I really do.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Blog Post 10

"Do you teach or do you educate?"

I have wanted to become an educator for as long as I can remember.  My first grade teacher, Mrs. Crawford was the best, and she still serves as my inspiration today.  However, I did not find out until later that I would prefer teaching high school students over younger kids.  Mrs. Crawford was the first person outside of my own family that I felt really cared about me.  I have had a few other wonderful teachers over the years, but sadly I have had more bad ones than good.  This fact serves as my other big inspiration.  

I feel like high school is my calling, because good high school teachers are educators to students who are on the doorstep of adult life.  I feel like the opportunity for influencing students in a way that will have long term impact on their lives is an opportunity especially reserved for high school teachers.  The decisions faced by teens who have recently graduated from high school, could have serious implications on the rest of their lives.  That is not, however, meant to take away or demerit the importance of elementary educators.  All and all,  I just think high school seniors are old enough to be privy to the facts about facing life beyond the shelter of their parents or caretakers.

funny cartoon

Tom Johnson's Don't Let Them Take The Pencils Home is a post of dialog between school teacher Tom and Gertrude, the School Curriculum Instructional Interventionist Academic Specialist.  I'm not all together sure about what that means.  Anyway, Gertrude is telling Tom that when their students take their pencils home, they test lower than the students who do not on the standardized tests at their school.  I gather that they mean computers and the internet when they speak of pencils.  Tom argues that the research Gertrude bases her conclusions on is shady at best, as all conclusions have been based on measurements of "drill and kill" methods of instruction and testing.  Tom believes in integrating his classroom with technology, and introducing his students to the world outside the school building through the internet.  He says that they should take their pencils (computers) home, and through special assignments and parent involvement, they can learn with them at home just as well as they can at school.  If the students choose to use them for social purposes, so be it.  They will be learning nonetheless.

funny slogan

I wasn't sure, but I do believe this post was actually written by John T. Spencer.  John has a number of education reformation post on Blogs like Education Rethink.  He says, "This post was largely influenced by Larry Ferlazzo's latest post and my own experience with 1:1 computing and my friend Javi's experience with a Parent University." Larry's post talks about the actual studies that have been done about the relationship between test scores and students either having or not having a computer at home.  One study said that students who have computers at home from the time they are in the sixth grade until they leave the eighth grade show a decrease in test scores over that same time period.  Based on my own experience, I would be willing to bet that test scores drop in general from the sixth to the eighth grade, because puberty alone does more than enough to influence test scores in the negative.

funny cartoon

Overall, I enjoyed the post.  Although, I had to read it more than twice to fully grasp what was going on.  I also think that John should have posted Larry's study above the post so that it made a little more sense the first go round.  Furthermore, I would have changed the title to "Shady Test Have Shady Results."  In conclusion, I do think there may be a link between low income homes and low test scores, but I don't think it's fair at all to assume that computers contribute to this in a direct way.  Maybe, the problem is, the methods being utilized for teaching and testing at present are not congruent with the methods being utilized for learning and understanding.  Teaches today are trying to build a Corvette using the parts of a Model T with the tools of a caveman.  What do you think test scores are going to do?  No-brainer!      

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Blog Post 9

AT THE TEACHERS DESKold teachers desk

Joe McClung's Reflections on School Year 2008-2009
I paid a visit to Joe McClung's blog post from May 27, 2009.  At the time, he was an elementary school teacher at a school in Noel, Missouri.  He had just come to the end of his first school year as a certified teacher.  He used this blog as a platform for reflection on his first year as a teacher.  He listed and elaborated on 7 lessons he had learned from his experience.

How to Read the Crowd 
Be Flexible
Be Reasonable
Don't be Afraid of Technology
Listen to Your Students
Lastly....Never Stop Learning

In my first year as a para-educator, I had to learn all these things the hard way just like Joe did. I found out that sometimes I could tell what kind of day it was going to be after seeing the faces of my students in the morning. I found that I had much better days when I stayed positive. I was scared to death of technology before I took this course, so I did not advocate for its implementation into our lessons. However, the teacher I worked with did a marvelous job of using the technology she had available with the students. Students are avid body language readers, and if you do not listen to them, they will know. I'm working hard on his never stop learning advise right now. I think all first year teachers would agree with Joe on the factuality of the lessons he learned, and that all aspiring teachers should read this post.

smile if you love history

I also took a look at his reflection blog post from after his very next school year.  He seemed a lot more mature in his writing as well as his thoughts.  He had quite a few changes in his life and career since his last post.  He moved his life from Missouri to Arkansas, and he moved from teaching 6th grade to teaching 8th grade.  In my opinion, Joe made some serious changes to his life, which explains his mature demeanor in his post.  

Joe formatted this post in a similar fashion to the previous.  However the lessons he learned in his sophomore year of teaching had changed somewhat.  This time he had 8 lessons that he derived from a year he regarded as unpleasant to say the least.  His lessons are:

The Path Least Traveled
Find Your School Mom
Check Your Ego at The Door
Don't Be a Control Freak
Scope and Sequence
Don't Lose Sight of What's Important
It's What Your Learn After You Know It All That Matters

I think it's funny how Joe's first and second year reflect my own.  Although I wasn't a real teacher, I felt and received all the same lessons as Joe did.  In particular, his lesson of adaptation hit me the hardest.  I feel like possessing the ability to adapt is paramount in the classroom.  All to often, the school will have some event or gathering, not to mention students being absent.  Adaptation is a must when trying to juggle the many aspects of teaching.  

In conclusion, I feel I must be a little blunt.  Teaching young people is a huge undertaking.  Each year that passes by is different.  The overall demeanor and culture of each different generation is unique.  Children today are not the same as they were only 10 years ago.  It will be up to us as teachers of the reformation to be adaptable as the years go by.  The positive is that we will have access to all the latest trends and cultural changes at our fingertips.  The internet makes it possible for people like Joe to write their experiences, and for people like me to learn from those experiences.  I will take Joe's lessons with me when I begin my career.

C4K Summary for March

Class 12's Blog

This week I left a comment on a post from Brandon in Class 12's Blog of Hotspur Primary School in the U.K.  Their teacher, Mr. McLoughlin, utilizes his class blog as a means of communicating his student's work to audiences all over the world.  Brandon is one of his students.  Brandon wrote a very short story about a slug named Bob and his struggles with being bullied at school.  Unfortunately, I suspect Brandon may have been writing about some of his own experiences at school.

In my comment, I tried to indirectly give Brandon a few uplifting statements regarding Bob.  I told Brandon that Bob should feel good that his family loves him, and Bob should be happy with himself as is.  Brandon mentioned that Bob's teacher did not do anything about the bullying, because he was always drinking something called 5 star coffee.  I asked Brandon what 5 star coffee was, as I had never heard of it before.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

C4T # 3

Ideas & Thoughts

The Ukulele Project

I left a comment on Dean Shareski's blog Ideas and Thoughts; Learning Stuff Since 1964.  In his post The Ukulele Project, he shows a video he created for a class in a very isolated school in Canada.  He created the video by asking his personal learning network to contribute video lessons about how to play the ukulele.  His PLN responded by sending in all sorts of different video lessons from cultures all around the world.  Dean talks about how important the internet is relative to our future classrooms.  He says, "Learning is conversation."  He believes our future teachers will become more "Network Administrator" than teacher, as we use the term today.

making music

In my comment, I told him how much I enjoyed his post, and that I had learned something new from it as well.  I learned that the term "Network Administrator" may be a title future teachers may come to adhere to. He made one comment I understood, but I was interested to know exactly what he meant by it.  His comment was, "School and learning must be different."  I asked him what he meant by this, and I hope to hear back from him soon.  I would suggest anyone interested in seeing what the internet and a PLN can bring into a classroom, go to Dean's blog site.

Discovery Education

In Dean Shareski's blog "Beyond the Textbook" he provides feedback from a recent event in which 18 educators from across North America were invited to collaborate with his employer, Discovery Education, about digital textbooks.  They spent an evening and a day exploring the future of education and the role of textbooks in the classroom.  He says that they began with a couple of questions to include: What should a digital textbook look like and what is out there that you've seen that is worth talking about?  He said that Discovery was looking for some outside feedback and insight so that they might better understand the implications of such a product.  There was a consensus view on the idea that learning should be social and that teachers and students should be able to connect in order to share ideas and opinions better that ever before.  However, he also said that opinions did differ when it came to the point of how to implement the different ideas presented.  He said there were some questions regarding the ethics of merging big corporation products and public schools.  Overall, I found this post to be even better than his last, and I have added this site to my PLN.

connected learning

In my comment, I told him how excited I was to hear that people are actually talking about making the text book a thing of the past.  In his post he said, "Comfort zones are the biggest impediment to education reform."  I told him that this is what worries me.  I asked him if he thought "old school" teachers who might be reaching a midway point in their careers would be willing to sacrifice their comfortable teaching methods and adapt to the new learning environment.  I said that I felt good about what our University and EDM 310 is doing in terms of professional development for teachers of the future.  I also took some time to visit the blogs of his peers, and I found a mass amount of good information, as well complementary details about their Discovery event.  I would suggest that any aspiring teacher visit this blog as well as the other blogs linked to this post.  This was a great addition to my PLN. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Blog Post 8

This Is How We Dream

For this weeks blog post, I watched Dr. Richard E. Miller's video This Is How We Dream.  In 2008, Dr. Miller was working in the English department at Rutgers University.  In his video, he demonstrated multimedia possibilities while he spoke on the future of the sciences and humanities.  He talked about how writing had been a solitary engagement in the past.  Solitary writing had resulted in books.  If you wanted to check out a book, you had to go to the library.  Even then, that book may have already been checked out.  He said that most people today use some sort of word processor for their writing purposes.  Instead of having to go to the local library, we can access many different libraries and find any book we can think of on the internet.  Internet books will last forever and will always be accessible.  With this unlimited information, we now have the sources and access all the time.  Next comes the new platform in which we gather, process, and present the information as teachers and writers.

In the past, we had only been using print and maybe a few pictures within the confines of a book or chalk board as the information platform.  We have the ability now to use print, video, pictures, and sound in virtual environments as platforms for teaching and learning.  Dr. Miller says that "we now work in the digital environment."  Teachers should at least begin using these multimedia tools in their classrooms.  Instant news and up to date information is available when using these tools, but this does scare a lot of people to death in terms of what their child may see.  Some parents and teachers are eager to filter any information that may be just to real for teens to see.  Those parents and teachers may have a very legitimate argument within the confines of the current school buildings and systems we have today.  Anytime something new is introduced into society, there are critics and skeptics.  I think we should be critical and skeptical in all things, but we shouldn't use criticism and skepticism as an excuse to hold ourselves back from moving forward into the future.    

Dr. Miller says that we need schools and systems to be redesigned in order to facilitate this new platform of multimedia information.  This new learning environment should be full of inspiring spaces for teachers and students.  They should be distracting in a way that will allow for creativity.  On the video, Dr. Miller presents a design for a new building at Rutgers in which the sciences and the humanities can come together and create with new and mutual ideas.  He says that for years the humanities had no real visual representation, and now it is trying to make its ideas more visual with the internet.  With multimedia this is very possible indeed.  I am an aspiring history teacher.  When I created my book trailer for project 12, I walked away feeling very confident in the fact that I will be able to incorporate multimedia into my classroom.  Given the proper tools, I will have my students using multimedia as well.  The sense of accomplishment alone makes it all well worth the extra effort.

Carly's Playlist
I thought Carly's idea for a playlist of videos on You Tube was great.  I did not even know you could create a playlist like that on You Tube.  Every classroom I have ever been in seemed to house a vast collection of videos and movies.  You Tube makes it possible to share these videos as well as make them available for home viewing.  Class time is not always the best time for viewing videos.  I will definitely be incorporating an educational playlist into my PLN in the future.

Carly's idea that every teacher needs their own philosophy is very important.  A personal teaching philosophy should reflect the reasons for which you wanted to become a teacher in the first place.  I wanted to become a teacher, because I felt there was a better way.  Now that I have found that way, I will be incorporating it into my teaching philosophy.

The Chipper Series and EDM 310 For Dummies
These two videos discuss the frustration that can come with taking EDM 310.  I have discovered that procrastination in this course is impossible if you want to complete all the assignments on time.  At the beginning of this course the frustration came with having to orient myself in an environment that can be intimidating.  Most of the time I invested in assignments involved learning how to use the tool needed to complete the task.  Now I find that I get frustrated over the lack of time to really get involved in an assignment to see how far I can go.  I would like to create more videos, but videos take a lot of time for me, as I am anal about the final product.  If I had time to just sit and create videos right now, I would try and incorporate them into some sort of study effort for another course I am taking.


Learn to Change, Change to Learn ranks in my top 3 videos of inspiration in this course.  I felt like it was good enough to rate being inserted into my blog.  Videos like this inspire me to want to continue learning to be a better student in order to become a teacher who can take a leadership role in creating the classroom of tomorrow.  Some of the statistics in this video were shocking.  I am on board with everything this video is about, and I think this is a model for teaching future teachers.  Thanks Dr. Strange. 

Scavenger Hunt 2.0

The first place I visited on my scavenger hunt was Edmodo.  This website is an interactive virtual platform for teachers to use with their students for various things.  Teachers can keep schedules and share them with their students.  They can post assignments and keep track of grades.  Students can create posts.  Parents can stay involved in their child's learning process.  This website or one like it will be utilized in my classroom.

Next, I went to Make Beliefs Comics and created my own comic strip.  Anytime a teacher can integrate something different that has a small amount of entertainment value added is a good thing in my opinion.  A comic could be perfect for that.

Evan's Brief Comic Example


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Blog Post 7

The Networked Student


This week Dr. Strange had us watch a video entitled The Networked Student by Wendy and Alex Drexler. The video tells a story about a student who is taking a class that is different than any other he had ever taken. There is no textbook. There are very few lectures. The teacher is a student of "connectivism." The video says that "connectivism" is "a theory that presumes that learning occurs as a part of a social network of many diverse connections and ties." It talked about how the student starts this new experience by collecting the necessary virtual tools to make connections a primary aspect of his learning environment. Once his Personal Learning Network has grown enough to start blossoming, blogging becomes the order of the day. Commenting and posting on blogs is absolutely necessary in a class designed around connective learning.

teacher helps students

The video then asks the viewer a question.  If students will be teaching themselves using the vast resources of the world wide web, why do we need teachers? It explains that teachers will show students how to build their networks and take advantage of all the learning opportunities the web can offer. They will offer guidance when a student gets stuck, and teach students about etiquette and ethics in terms of web usage.  They will teach kids to turn their research into an exciting adventure and how to differentiate between good information and propaganda or unscholarly resources.  Finally, they will help students organize the mass amounts of information they find into a piece of work they can be proud of and excited about.  

worried teacher

Many "old school" contemporary teachers worry that this new kind of classroom will require an entirely new kind of teacher, and that the new kind of teacher will lack in factual scholarly knowledge.  I agree that the new classroom will require a new kind of teacher, but I would be inclined to say that the teacher of tomorrow may be more endowed with this kind of knowledge, especially in terms of elaboration and cross topics.  Personally, I love the model of the classroom provided in the video about The Networked Student. In my experience as the student in that model, learning is unavoidable if you follow directions and work hard.    

My Personal Learning Network

Personal Learning Network

I did not even know what a PLN was until week 7.  Our class checklist told us to get started on our Personal Learning Network during week 2 of this course.  I made this wonderful discovery in week 7.  Consequently, I may be a bit behind the curve.  However, I have signed up for Symbaloo, and I have begun adding many websites including the great learning tools and blogs from this course.  I decided on Symbaloo, because in my opinion it was the most user friendly.  I feel like I am at an extreme advantage to some students in this course, because I have my own computer.  This will allow me to use Safari and other apps as a part of my PLN as well.


When I started using Twitter back in January, I knew it had some sort of important use other than just a place for people to write useless information.  After doing some assignments for this week, I figured out what it was.  Twitter is invaluable in terms of creating a PLN, because it makes it so easy to find and save people needed for your PLN.  Those people, in turn, can help you find the latest and greatest tools available on the internet.  Twitter has now become a great search engine for my PLN.

your twitter pln

In the upcoming weeks, my goal is to continue to grow my PLN.  I want to backtrack a bit and add links that I found earlier in this course.  I want to use Twitter to find people beneficial to me and what I look for in my continued learning experience.  I want to expand the world I live in to include as many sources as I can in an attempt to answer any question that may arise in my classroom.  

Friday, March 9, 2012

C4T # 2

At The Teachers Desk

This week I commented on William Chamberlain's Reflections on EdCampStL 2012.  Mr. Chamberlain drove 5 1/2 hours to get to an EdCamp in St. Louis.   He says that EdCamps are about creating long-lasting relationships that allow you to learn over a long period of time through those relationships.   He relishes in the fact that he can meet people face-to-face that he had previously met online.   Overall, Mr. Chamberlain's experience  at the EdCamp in St. Louis was mediocre at best.


In my comment, I spoke about my concerns with the effects of new communications technology on young people in terms of face-to-face communication.  I said that body language plays a huge role in how we communicate.  Really great orators don't seem to be very common today.  Finally, I asked Mr. Chamberlain if he thought advances in communication technologies would have an adverse effect on young people being able to communicate effectively?   Overall, I really enjoyed this post.  I had a chance to explore some of the links and found some really interesting things relative to camps and conferences for teachers.  The best part about the EdCamp experience, is the face to face communication and hands on interaction by teachers from all over.

funny cartoon

I went back to William Chamberlain's blog again this week.  Unfortunately, he did not have any more recent posts than the one I commented on two weeks ago.  However, in the post previous to his latest, William asks a good question.  How About Unconferences for students?  I discovered that unconferences were participant driven meetings, which tried to avoid various aspects of conventional conferences.  Teachers use them as a kind of platform for idea exchange.  There were quite a number of comments and conversation within the blog about ideas as a result of William asking these questions about his primary question.  
  1. Could the students sign up ahead of time so that they could be scheduled and have opportunities to practice their presentations? If so, would that go against the spirit of the unconference? 
  2. Would this be a student led only conference or would adults be allowed to present as well? If so, they could fill gaps in the presentation and perhaps have to wait to sign up the night/day of the conference thereby keeping some of the spirit of the unconference.
  3. It seems like it would be easy to plan. I would need to get access to the school and advertise. Am I missing something significant?

Many of the suggestions in the comments included students giving presentations on what they were learning.  I asked William if he thought it could be more important for students to give presentations on how they were learning instead of what they were learning.  I explained to him that I had taken some courses in college for which I had no answer.  As a student, I would be more interested in hearing how other students manage courses that they just don't understand.

Podcast Project 8

Special Note: One of our team members was sick the day of production, so we got an extension on the due date from Dr. Strange.