Sunday, February 26, 2012

Project #9a

Blog Post #5

Don't Teach Your Kids This Stuff. Please? 
     When I read Dr. Scott McLeod's post, I didn't know who he was; I have now found and read a biography of him on his website. He is a an associate professor at the University of Kentucky, where he teaches Educational Leadership. He is also the founder of a center dedicated to the leadership needs of school administrators. The center is the only one of its kind in the United States and is called the UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education(Castle). 

     I really enjoyed reading Dr. McLeod's post, he makes some very valid points. His post seemed to be formed out of a frustration with the general lack of knowledge of technology that is found in much of the population. I think that because I've encountered so many people, in my own life, who have said such things to me, as "I'm worried that if I put any of my information online, then someone could come find me." This sentiment often spills over into the realm of parenting and thus, these parents are scared to let their children do much, if anything on the internet. Dr. McLeod's post brought many conversations back to my mind and really made me rethink some of the things that I was still a little apprehensive about, such as cyberbullying and online predators. However, with that said, I'm not completely flippant about these issues, but I have realized that with proper education and guidance- children will learn how to deal with each of these issues.
logo     When Travis Allen was a senior at a high school in Georgia, he realized that the education system was broken and decided to find a solution. He found it and created a video to inform the public. Mr. Allen uses his video to answer the question, "Does technology belong in our classroom?" He provides an answer by suggesting the use of the iSchool, which would be formed on Apple's iPod touch platform. He gives examples of many applications that currently exist on the iPod touch, including Email, WorldWiki, Recorder, Notes, and Scientific Calculator. Each of these apps could be used in the classroom, without any adjustment needed. He goes to suggest the possibility of customizable applications in which, each school could post their lunch menu or each students grades. Mr. Allen says that by using the iPod touch platform students would no longer need textbooks, pencils, paper, etc. He also explains that using the iPod instead of tradition tools for teaching, schools could save up to 600 dollars per student. Mr. Allen evens notes the possibility of limited internet access on the iPod's to only educational websites. Thus, he decided to form the iSchool Initiative, which is a 
group of corporations, Apple programmers, and businesses. 

     In the video ZeitgeistYoungMind's Entry, Mr. Allen provides an update on the iSchool Initiative. It has gotten publicity worldwide. He is now a 20 year-old student at Kennesaw State University. His iSchool Initiative has developed into a group of 25 students who travel the United States informing others of the possibilities of mobile education. Mr. Allen even says that school around the world have decided to switch to mobile learning  via the iSchool initiative.

     Before I watched Mr. Allen's videos, I was unaware of many of the powerful educational applications that are available on the Apple iPod touch for usage by students. I knew about many of the applications that can be used by children with special needs, but I didn't realize how many applications were also available for classroom usage. They seem like such great resources. I think it would be very beneficial to have iPod's in the classroom and to use them as additional tools, but that they shouldn't be used as the only teaching tools. Children should have the ability to participate in many forms of learning. For example, in elementary school; the students should be able to learn through games, songs, playing, and technology. If iPod's are the solution to the need for technology, then I have no issue, but I think it's important to remember that children need time to play and learn without screens, as well. 

     I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir perform his piece 'Lux Aurumque', which means Light and Gold in Latin. I have been singing in various choirs since I was in 3rd grade and I think that it's a huge step for technology for choral singing to be able to be performed via the internet. I was very surprised, as a professional singer, at how "together" the choir remained during the performance, so I went to Mr. Whitacre's website and found out just how the performance was recorded. According to the website, each part is recorded while watching a video of Mr. Whitacre conducting the piece, then the part is uploaded to the Virtual Choir website. Mr. Whitacre uses all of the videos submitted in the final performance. I do think that an online performance loses some of the beautiful resonance that can be heard in a live performance, but this was still a wonderful performance.

Teaching in the 21st Century
     Kevin Robert's Prezi made some very good points. He seems to say that What it means to teach in the 21st Century is that educators must be prepared to fully engage students. Educators need to be able to allow students to creatively solve problems and come up with their own solutions. This means guided learning, but not hand-held learning. We need to have less hand-holding by teachers and more freedom to use technology.

     Teachers are going to need to really be educators. They need to educate for life skills. I think that the education system will change drastically because of this, but I don't think that I will have a problem changing with the system as I feel all educators should be fully-involved in actively engaging every child.

     I went to the website Reading Rockets and I found a wealth of information on how to help children learn how to read and for helping those who can read, but have difficulty. I found some great resources including, research articles, which covered nearly all aspects of reading from "Early literacy and preschool" to "Summer Learning and Out-Of-School Programs." These articles can be used for teacher education purposes and I'm sure there is much that I could learn from them.

     I also found a link some booklists based on a child's interest. If a child wants to read about the Olympics, animals, or even detectives, then there is a booklist available on Reading Rockets. The website even had podcasts and links to educational PBS television shows. I look forward to using this great resource in my future classrooms.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Blog Post #4

     I listened to the Flat Stanley podcast on Langwitches. This podcast was done by a class of first graders, after they read the book Flat Stanley by Jam Brown. In the podcast, each of the children talked about their adventures as a "Flat Stanley." Although, they each had a different "flat" name, such as Flat Evan or Flat Jeremy. The children's adventures included Tokyo(Japan) , North Pole, Space, and Alabama(United States). Every child described how they got to their destination of choice and what interesting places they encountered. I must say that I was amazed by how articulate the children sounded and how much research must have been done by each of them. This is the kind of podcast that I would love to have my future students create.


     This was a really interesting podcast. A classroom of 2nd year students in Elementary school read a book called Purim. Purim is written in Hebrew and yet, each child was able to speak a part in the podcast and sounded, to me, as though they spoke Hebrew fluently. Garageband was the computer program used by the students and their teacher to put the podcast together.

     Each student recorded their part and when they were all done, the parts needed to be put into order. As the students put their voice parts in order, they continued to hear themselves and each other, over and over again. This was one of the key goals of the podcast. Apparently, someone will begin to really comprehend what they are hearing after they have heard a word about 70 times. I'm sure each of these kids got very near that number because they sounded like that knew exactly what they were talking about!


     In Joe Dale's, The Benefits of Podcasting in the Classroom, he explains the possibility of using podcasts to minimize the amount of learning lost to sick time by children. He says that it's actually possible to provide children with podcasts of what happened in class each day. Mr. Dale also shows several examples of ways that podcasts can be used as a supplement to simply reading books in class. A principal who Mr. Dale asked about podcasting suggests that podcasts allow parents to hear a fragment of what happens in the classroom.

My Sentence Video

Sunday, February 12, 2012

C4T #1

A Journey in TEFL
by: Ms. Eva Buyuksimeyan

Digital Learning

     I read Ms. Buyuksimeyan's blog post on Reported Speech. She wrote that she was on break, but needed to make sure that everything was planned ahead. Ms. Buyuksimeyan had quite a few creative and interesting ways to teach Reported Speech to her students. Among the suggestions that she made were to have her students play a game like telephone, which she called Chinese Whisper. She also had the idea to ask her students to secretly pass notes to each other about a given situation, and report what the conversation when asked to stop.

     I left a comment for Ms. Buyuksimeyan's explaining that I had never heard of Reported Speech before I read her post. I told her that I had looked it up and was it anything like indirect speech? I asked if Reported Speech was unique to the country the she lived in. I wrote that I really liked her idea for of having student's pass notes to each other. I told  Ms. Buyuksimeyan that I was commenting for this class and that I would be posting a summary post on the 12th of February. I also left the link to my class blog, the class blog, and my twitter.

     The second post I read on Ms. Buyuksimeyan's blog was on her post entitled, EVO, Digitalstorytelling4kids and the tool of the week. She wrote about a class that she was able to take online which was called Digitalstorytelling4kids. In the class that she took Ms. Buyuksimeyan said that she learned how to create Google Search Stories videos. She listed a few great ideas for using these videos in the classroom. Her ideas included, "as a way to introduce a topic" and to "To summarise the story they've read."

    I left a comment on Ms. Buyuksimeyan second blog post saying that I enjoyed reading her post and that the course she took looked very interesting. I also wrote that I thought using Google Search Stories in the classroom was a great idea. I asked if she thought these videos could be used to help with vocabulary. I also let Ms. Buyuksimeyan know that I would be posting a summary post of my comments on her blog.

Blog Post #3

Peer Editing

     I learned quite a bit from the above links on peer editing. I learned that it's always important to remain positive when peer editing. It's also key to make sure that you point out things your peer did well. Some of the things to check for are good organization, punctuation, grammar, spelling, and complete sentences. Did your peer misspell any words or use a run on sentences. Those examples are the kinds of things that it would be appropriate to correct.

     When peer editing, remember not to criticize or simply put someone down. When giving corrections it's important to stay on topic and criticize as little as possible. If you aren't very specific about your corrections, then the person that you are correcting will not know what to fix. For example, if you say "you misspelled some words," then you aren't being very helpful. You could say "I think that you misspelled arrow and bleed." The later example of corrections is the best mode to use.

ipad in education
Technology in Special Education

     Technology has made a huge difference in the way that Special Education is taught. It seems to be taking away some of the crutches that students have had in the past. In the video, Ms. Cook showed us what used to be used for teaching special education children. It doesn't even compare to what we have now.

    I think that I could easily use technology for special education students within my classroom. For a child with difficulty seeing, a smart-board can be used to show a book on a projector screen. For a child that has difficulty being around a great deal of noise, there is an iPad or iPod touch which allows students to listen to a book on tape. There are many possibilities.

iPad app
Green Eggs and Ham  - Dr. Seuss
by  Oceanhouse Media

Apple Education Apps

    I found an app called Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. It allows the student the option to read the book themselves, have the book read-aloud to them, or listen to some of the words. I used Green Eggs and Ham to learn how to read. One of the great benefits of having an app that reads is that I will be able to spend more time with other children and yet, that one child will still be learning how to read. Thus, the students have a new, interactive, and exciting way to learn.

Gary's Social Media Count

    Mr. Hayes Social Media Count is really astonishing. I would never have thought that so much happens within the space of a second/click. I think that the best way that we as teachers can keep up with such rapidly growing and changing technology is to remain aware and knowledgeable about the possibilities for in-classroom use.

    However, I also think that it's very important that we don't overload children with technology. It's the duty of the teacher to be aware of how much technology is too much. When so much happens every second, maybe it's important to slow down a bit in the classroom and let the children hands-on learn about the world around them.

A Vision of Students Today

    I've long thought that the way the current education system is set up is detrimental to itself. This video clearly shows that. In the video, one of the signs that bothered me the most was the one that read " 18% of my teachers know my name." I think it's terrible that we have such large class sizes that not even 1 in 5 professors know who we are! Our name is our identity. This is an issue that we have in every aspect of education.

    I'm of the opinion that we're going to have to embrace technology in order to properly educate large numbers of children. However, I think that children and the education system would be better served if there was a way for there to be small class sizes with hands-on activities that relate to the real world. We need to be real people with names, faces, and life stories.

Project #5

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Blog Post #2

Higher Learning

Did You Know?
     The video "Did you know?" was very interesting. I considered myself well-informed, until I watched the video. I knew that there were a great number of children and teens with computers and cell phones, but I definitely was not aware that the numbers were quite so high. I also was not aware that there so many Chinese who are learning English. The numbers are so high in comparison to the number of people speaking English, that perhaps, the United States should step up the effort to teach foreign languages. I know that the research supporting the learning of a second or even third language is there.

     I am very intrigued by the idea that I will be preparing students for jobs that don't exist yet. I had never thought of it in this way before, but I think it's a very valid point. It seems that this is an argument in support of technology and the need for technologically literate teachers because without the ability to keep pace with the ever changing world, then we as teachers will not be able to effectively prepare our students for any/all options that may be out there.

Mr. Winkle Wakes

     "Mr. Winkle Wakes" is a good video, in that it really caused me to think and, honestly, it frustrated me too. I understood Mr. Winkle being uncomfortable around the many forms of technology that he encountered, but to me each of those things are helpful and useful. That we, as humans, now have the ability to x-ray someone to find out if something inside of them is hurt or broken is great. I know that we(humans) hadn't invented the x-ray machine 100 years ago.

     I was very irked when Mr. Winkle walked into the school and felt better because there was less technology. I know that the world of medicine has made great leaps and bounds in the last 100 years, why then hasn't the realm of education? The idea that a school can still have only an old laptop stuck somewhere in the back is just plain aggravating. I think that every school should have a smart board, computers, and any other technology that will further learning. Children will pay closer attention, if they are taught using the methods of their generation. Mr. Winkle should be uncomfortable in every school.

Sir Ken Robinson

    Sir Ken Robinson makes the point that children are now "educated out of creativity." He defines creativity as "the process of having original ideas that have value." I think that Sir Robinson is right and that this is horrible. Children should be able to learn through creativity and interaction, not simply sitting at desks and taking tests. If children are allowed to really in engaged in their education, then we, as educators, will have fewer issues with ADD and ADHD, as the children will be kept busy and fully occupied, physically, as well as mentally.

   In the video, Sir Robinson argues, that children are taught that mistakes are the worst thing you can make. I  think that this is an argument for taking away not only grading, but teaching to tests too. Children should be educated through real-life interactions and not through multiple-choice tests. Also, mistakes are for learning from, not for being the monster in the closet that might get you, if you don't do everything perfectly. I think Sir Robinson makes some really wonderful points and I hope that his words are heard and heeded.

A Vision for 21st Century Learning

     This video makes the point that we are all interconnected and everything is standardized. The creators of the video, then powerfully suggest that the future of education is in a sort of video game-like learning system called "immersive learning environments." While I think that technology in the classroom is a good thing and very critical to the education of our children, I have a problem with the use of a video game for learning history. I think that technology can help aid in our ability to educate, but I think a video game doing the education for us is simply not right. Children should be playing, singing, and moving, while learning. They should not be sitting in an "immersive learning environment."

     I have said that I strongly dislike the idea of a video game-style learning system in the classroom. However, I can see the aid of having such a system in a children's museum or such. I know that the Exploreum in Mobile, AL used to have a small theater that children could to go for a 20-minute history lesson on the inner workings of ancient Athens. The video was interactive and would allow the theater operator to zoom in and show the children many buildings and details. It was a wonderful theater and a great way for children to learn in a museum setting. I simply do not see the need for a great deal more "screen time," within the classroom, unless it were a very rare situation.

Harness Your Student's Digital Smarts

     This particular video was about a teacher in Georgia who uses many different types of technology to educate the children in her classroom. She has her students using blogs, google documents, and even creating a wiki. Ms. Davis has her students "connected to the world," via computer.

    Ms. Davis says that when there is only pen and paper, only certain types of children will succeed. I completely agree with her. There are many different learning styles: auditory, visual, etc. However, I do not agree that students should be using only technology in the classroom. I think that because of the various learning styles of students, that teachers should be able to have multiple platforms available for a given subject. Thus, if I were teaching a unit on division, then my students should be able to use the computer, use pen and paper, use audio cd's with division facts, etc. It's important to allow students to teach you what is the best method for teaching each of them. Ms. Davis says something to that effect in the video. She says that often the students will end up teaching you!