Sunday, December 7, 2014

Blog Assignment #16

Here is my Final Reflection. Have a great Christmas everyone! See y'all next semester.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Blog Assignment #5- Part 2

collage of text with various social networking names

To be completely honest, I have not spent the amount of time I wanted to on my PLN this semester. I have a Symbaloo account and did build on that some, but Twitter is where I spent most of my time. I really think that Twitter will be the foundation for my primary PLN going forward. It is just a fantastic place to share information and I think it is exactly what I need. I really like the format and the ease that you can share and link things to your followers. I have built my follower/following base up some, but not as large as I would like. I really learned a lot about PLNs this semester and plan very much to utilize them when I have my own classroom. It is one of the things I am more excited about when looking forward to graduation.

C4T #4

Julie Vincentsen is a principal who has her own blog. She had a post about IEP's, which I am learning about in my special education class right now. She suggested using audio books for a student that had a reading disability. She also linked a fantastic list of audio book websites. It was a very informative post.

Ms. Vincentsen's 2nd post that I read was about Martin Luther King. It was posted around MLK day. I found it to be very appropriate, especially with all the issues surrounding Ferguson, MO this week. It was great to look back and reflect on how Dr. King would handle this situation.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Blog Assignment #14

chalk board with education equals future written on it

Some of the problems that are addressed in Joel Kline's USA Today article are:

-Academic training for teachers is not strenuous enough
-We don't recruit the proper people to be teachers
-Teachers are rewarded based on seniority and not merit

I very much agree with the first problem listed. Granted I only have my short few semesters to base my opinions on, but I do not see the process of becoming a teacher as one that requires a great deal of effort. I recently took the AECTP and was shocked at how elementary it was. It seemed to be set at grade school level, specifically in the reading section. I would hope that we would want our teachers to be more competent than a grade school standard. I am also not a believer that a "C" should be good enough to pass academic classes in higher education. A higher education degree is supposed to be an endorsement of some type of subject matter expertise in one's field. I don't feel like only retaining 70% of the knowledge is a high enough standard for college students. This is in reference to all college level education, not just the teaching field. I'm not saying everyone must have a 4.0 to receive their degree, but I do think a 3.0 should be the minimum to continue in higher education learning. If one cannot retain and present at least 80% of the knowledge they have learned, then I don't think they have demonstrated an appropriate level of expertise in their field. I wouldn't allow a mechanic to only fix 70% of my car's problems and I wouldn't allow an engineer to only meet 70% of building code. If that is the case, why would I be okay with the person who is responsible for teaching my children to only have achieved 70% of their expertise before imparting it?

The second problem mentioned of recruiting the proper people is something I agree with as well. The article says that "we've let anyone with a college degree become a teacher." I think it's very true that we don't exactly pick only the highest hanging fruit. The teaching profession lacks a lot of respect in the national perspective. I think the lack of top quality recruiting is a by-product of this. We, as a society, have a hard time telling each other that we can't do what we want to do. The MCATs and LSATs make this easier for the medical and law fields, but the rest of the nation has issues telling people that they shouldn't go into profession x,y, or z. Why is that? We don't do this with the arts or athletics. Simon Cowell has made millions of dollars telling people they aren't good enough to be professional recording artists. If I was to paint a picture and take it to any art dealer, they would tell me to get lost and seek another profession. I probably couldn't get cast in a Broadway show and I would get laughed out of an NFL tryout before the first whistle blew. Yet, if one walked into a school which had positions open, with a degree and resume in hand, one could most likely get a job. Again, this isn't an issue which is exclusive to only the education field. If we demanded our educators be some of the brightest our universities had to offer, it would pay dividends in the future generations.

I cannot speak to the third problem of teachers being rewarded based on seniority and not merit, as I have not been employed as a teacher yet. I do, however, have 10 years of experience in the work force and have seen multiple systems of rewarding behavior on the job. If it is only seniority that is rewarded, then one is only incentivized to do enough work to not get fired. Unless it is in one's personal nature to achieve more than the standard, employees won't produce results that are higher than what is required. If one is rewarded based on the quality of work, then there will be a constant competition to achieve the rewards. The quality of work will skyrocket.

I think the article raised some fantastic points about the problems in the education field. The solutions presented seemed to all lean toward improving the quality of the educator. While this seems obvious, it is actually a very good plan. If we can overhaul the process by which we choose and train educators, then the field as a whole will improve. If we can improve our field, then the future generations of students will benefit greatly.

C4K Summary for November

Mehtab is a student in Mr. Wigmore's class. I had a very difficult time finding context on this class. There is no class biography or an introduction from the teacher giving any specifics on location, ages, grade, curriculum, etc. I spent a few minutes going through Mehtab's blog and other students' as well. The best I gather is that they are in grade 4. The vast majority of their blog visitors come from the northeast and Mehtab refers to "soccer" often, while he uses British spellings for other words. He is of Indian decent, possibly an immigrant. I'm going to use this experience when I have my own class blog. It is important that the visitors to our blog have some context on who your class is. I think Mr. Wigmore should have some type of class introduction on his blog. Mehtab's post was about all the sports that he likes. I wrote to him about the sports that I like and told him I would go watch some cricket videos on YouTube. Cricket is his favorite sport, so I thought I would let him know that his blog is helping spread an interest in cricket.

Jaden is a 5th grader in Chula Vista, CA. His post was a "sneak peek" to what I'm assuming is a story that he will be posting later. It was actually really well done and enticing. It was only a few sentences, but he did a very good job of hooking the reader. I'll probably check back in to see how the story unfolds. Pretty impressive for an 11 year old, huh?

No C4K this week for Veterans' Day!
Flag raising at Iwo Jima and text reading Happy Veterans Day

Marines at a reenlistment ceremony
This is me reenlisting in the Marine Corps back in 2007. We were in a town in Iraq called Dulab.

Victoria wrote a post about the end of the 1st quarter of school. She has a great attitude about trying to improve her grades. She made a point to let everyone know that she sees her teachers as heroes. I thought this was amazing. I think sometimes I'm so focused on classes and homework that I forget that I'm going to have kids looking up to me very shortly. I hope that some of my students will think of me as a hero.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Project 12b

Here is Group 7's SMART Board presentation collaborative project:

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Blog Assignment #13


Watch this video on making history fun. What can you, as a future educator, take away from the video?

text reading history rocks

The first thing I notice about Mr. McCarthy is his infectious energy. Regardless of what anyone is teaching, if they spoke to me in the way he is speaking to the parents, I would be paying attention. Being excited about what you're teaching is the first step to keeping a student's attention. He also is making his class fun. He made a point about connecting the subject matter to one's life today. What a great point! Especially in history class, students often don't see the connection as to why they should be learning x, y, or z. If we can connect it to their lives, then they will be more apt to participate. Mr.McCarthy mentions getting the burning question of "Why?!" after a lecture. I absolutely love this point. He teaches with the intent of making his kids want to know why and want to understand. He isn't teaching with the intent of just getting them to be able to burp back information on a test. I really love that last point he made. If we can get our kids to want to learn, as opposed to just remember facts for a test, then we will have done our jobs.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Blog Assignment #12

post it notes with assistive technology parts on them

My family has a history of hearing impairment. My maternal grandfather wore hearing aids from his 40s on to his death at 89. My mother is very hard of hearing, as are most of her siblings. I have lost a significant amount of hearing in my right ear due to military service and I imagine my genetics don't help with that. I have often thought of what it would be like if I was afflicted with my family's impairment at a school age. This post was a great chance to see what would be available to me if I was a hearing impaired student today. The Hearing Loss Association of America has a section of its website dedicated to Hearing Assistive Technology. In the link they talk about an FM system. I have vivid memories of my grandfather using one of these to listen to the TV. After multiple complaints from my grandmother about him blasting Braves games at full volume they invested in one of these FM systems. He placed the receiver close to the speakers of the TV and he had it hooked into his hearing aids. As an educator, I can see this working well in the classroom. The teacher could simply wear the receiver around his or her neck, or keep it on the desk if it was powerful enough, and the student could take it from class to class. It seems kind of primitive in today's technological world, but if it isn't broke, don't fix it. I guess.

Linked here is a video from Oklahoma about Assistive Technologies that educators can use to help deaf/hearing impaired students. Around the 5:30 mark of the video, the iPad is discussed. It seems as though iPads are becoming quite the norm in classrooms these days. I found this short section of the video to be very interesting, as I'm expecting to have iPads available to me in my future classrooms. Here is a short video of deaf students using iPads for the first time. You can see how excited the children are, but also look and see how engaged they are in their learning. My wife, God bless her, is an avid Pinterest user and heard me talking about this blog post. She very quickly found this board. I don't really know how Pinterest works, but there is some really great information on that link. That's what's so great about our modern world today; there's so much information out there. I think that if we just put forth the effort, real effort, to find it, then we will always be in a position to help our students. -Kyle Parrish

Assistive technology can help students with learning disabilities leverage their education. It can be a wonderful tool for students that have Dysgraphia which affects a student's writing ability. This disability primarily affects handwriting and coherence. Students with this writing disorder will not perform efficiently when being taught how to form letters. Furthermore, they will probably forget how to correctly form words later because of improper movements of muscles required to write. However, there have been technologies created to help them counter this problem.
Dragon Dictation is a speech recognition application that produces words you speak by recording your voice. It allows you to update social media statuses such as facebook and twitter by speaking. Dragon allows you to speak and send emails or text messages. Additionally, people can create notes and reminders to help them navigate throughout the day. This technology could be useful for students in the classroom who have Dysgraphia because it would allow them to complete their writing assignments by speaking out their words. As a teacher I could allow a student to use their device to assist them in the writing process. This is another way technology is affecting education in a positive way because it is assisting students who have learning disabilities. -Justin Thomas

This short six minute YouTube video, Braille in the classroom, it helps you understand how braille works, how it is helpful, and some of the different types of braille. One of the devices they use is called braille display. This device will connect to the computer and will transfer the text from a computer screen into braille for the student. In the YouTube video iPad usage for the blind he shows us how to use the iPad from a blind person point of view. As he demonstrates, you can hear how he has the voice control instructing him in he background. The voice control helps him find his apps, tools, or whatever item he is looking for. Having an iPad in the classroom would be very beneficial to the student. Especially since everything is changing into technology. -Macy Roe

Math is a tough alone, and the hardest subject in school for some. I could only imagine how difficult it could be for a blind individual. In the video Teaching Math to the Blind Professor Art Karshmer introduces a tool that allows blind students to still use Braille, something they're familiar with, and electronic feedback. Instead of the math problem written in one horizontal line the student can align the math problem the way it should be. They are also able to receive verbal feedback of the math problem.
I think this tool is very useful for blind students. It is important for them to understand math because as Professor Art Karshmer said in order to get a job in engineering, technology, computer sciences etc. math is an important part of the equation, and the easier it is to practice and understand it the better, and with this tool its definitely possible. -Janae Ivory

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

C4T #3

Elvira Deyamport is a teacher for gifted students and very active in the new technological world educators are finding themselves in. She had a great post on a conference she recently attended where she was able to present and discuss PLNs. She had her presentation linked and some outstanding tips and information about how to grow and manage your PLN as an educator. This is one of the more informative blogs I have had the opportunity to visit this semester. I really suggest everyone go check it out to learn more about PLNs.

Ms. Deyamport had a new post up for me to comment on this week. This is the first time I have had a teacher post something new after I commented on their first post. She listed all types of examples from her students and their writing assignments. She had one assignment that was prompted by a 5 word story. The students could only use 5 words and had to tell a story. It was really cool and interesting to see what they came up with. There was another prompt of inanimate objects writing to each other. The kids got VERY creative with this one. Click the link and go check it out!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Project #10 Teacher Interview

This is a video of the interview I conducted with Genny Parrish. Mrs. Parrish is an elementary teacher at St. Mary's Catholic school in Mobile, AL. She teaches elementary P.E. and middle school religion.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Blog Assignment #11

What did I learn from these teachers?

teacher fielding questions from his class

Back to the Future

This is an absolutely fantastic video of a elementary science teacher giving a presentation of some of the fun projects he has been doing with his class. The biggest take away I got was that learning MUST be fun and interesting. He had all types of innovative ways to engage his students. He makes a great point about we, as educators, must empower our students to learn on their own. I highly suggest y'all go watch this video. He sends a balloon 100,000 feet into the atmosphere with a camera attached. It was pretty awesome.

Blended Learning Cycle

Paul Andersen is a high school biology teacher. He has a video on his own personal blended learning cycle. He believes in the "power of the question." He empowers his students using his "QUIVERS" system of teaching. The video gives an in depth look at his process. I really like the way he went about the self-evaluation he allows the students to do. I have always been a fan of self-evaluation and find that it often brings about some honest reflection of effort in the student.

Super Digital Citizen

Sam Pane is a 5th grade teacher. He is teaching his students about being responsible on the internet. He really has a cool way of getting his students interested in the subject matter. He has them build a comic book hero, digitally, to teach and enforce safety on the internet. This is obviously super cool to his 5th graders. He has made school fun! The biggest thing I am getting out of all of these videos is that school needs to be fun for the kids. Gone are the days of blackboards and lectures.

Project Based Learning

Project Based Learning, Project Based Learning, Project Based Learning!!! This is one of the biggest tools I will take from EDM310. PBL is the teaching method of the future. This video is of a Canadian school which blended 3 subjects into single class for the students. This was just a quick video, but showed how successful thinking outside of the box can be. They were teaching beyond the curriculum and making their students better citizens.

Roosevelt Elementary's PBL

Another great example of PBL. This one is from an American classroom. It, like the one above, stresses teaching beyond the curriculum. It is really interesting that the education community has decided to push for the building of a better student, as a whole, as opposed to just teaching the subject matter. They are teaching skills that can be utilized in the academic world, but in the real world as well. Very cool to see this happening in the profession.

Project #14

Our group did a plan for an 11th grade history class. The students will be working in groups and doing a digital presentation, in the medium of their choosing, on the correlation between Pearl Harbor and the atomic bomb attacks later in WWII. See our plans in the links listed below for more information.

Action scene from the movie Pearl Harbor

Project Overview

Project Checklist

Project Calendar

Evaluation Rubric for the Group

Evaluation Rubric for the Individual

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Project #12a: SMART Board

This is my SMART Board tutorial.

Blog Assignment #10

The word Canada in its national colors with a maple leaf in the center

Mrs. Cassidy is a 1st grade teacher in Canada. She utilizes technology in her classrooms and posted this video of her 1st graders on YouTube.

Little Kids...Big Potential

This was a really cool and short video of the 1st Graders in Mrs. Cassidy's class. The thing that impacted me the most in this was the fun the kids were having. They got to use a Nintendo in class! I would have done and learned anything the teacher told me to, if I got to play Nintendo at school in 1st grade. I think this really shows how making learning fun and interesting is so important in today's modern classrooms.

Dr. Strange held a Skype interview with Mrs. Cassidy about her experiences with technology in the classroom. Links to the interview are provided below:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

I learned a few very interesting things from this interview. The first of which is that Mrs. Cassidy was very bold in her undertaking of implementing technology in her classroom. She was given 5 computers and then dove in head first to utilize them to their utmost effectiveness. She had a few principals over the course of the next decade that weren't as sold as she was on the technology front. Yet, she kept moving forward. I think that is probably the most influential thing I gained from these interviews. If you believe in what you're doing, keep doing it even if not everyone is on board. She talks about how much her kids love the technology. It's not foreign to them, as they have been raised with it. And her parents really enjoy being able to track their children's progress.

She spent sometime addressing technological literacy in today's educators. As noted in many other posts and videos seen in this class, technology is the new "must" in today's world of education. We, as educators, absolutely MUST stay in the loop with technology. Mrs. Cassidy highly emphasized utilizing PLNs to keep up with the rapid new improvements in technology. She uses Twitter, but made a great point for new educators to utilize what is fun and interesting to them, personally. Just like our kids want learning to be fun, we will utilize our PLNs more if they are fun for us to do so.

I think that PLNs are something that offer great benefits to an educator. We already use them on a much smaller scale. We all have the 2 or 3 people we turn to in certain situations for help. I have 2 people I go to for academic help, 3 I turn to for advice with my children, and others for other situations as well. These are my PLN, it's just at a very small scale. Using Twitter and other mediums can open up a whole world of ideas and experiences we can grow from. PLNs are the first thing I will try to utilize when I get to my own classroom.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

C4K Summary for October

Joshua is a student in Mrs. Morgan's class at a school in Phoenix. He only has two posts on his blog, but seems to be very excited about it. All the students on Mrs. Morgan's Superstars 2014-2015 blog drew a picture for each other and left a comment about the picture. Jed left a picture for Joshua and Joshua commented on it. Joshua thought it looked like a cactus, but I think it more resembled Squidward from Spongebob.

Rachel J is a 12 year old student who had a very interesting post. They were to give suggestions about what decisions the students should make at the school. One of her suggestions was to let students customize their assignments. She gave a short explanation, but she was talking about PBL! I thought it was really cool that she wanted to use projects to learn and that is what we, as future educators, are moving towards. I let her know in the comment to have hope because that is exactly what we are being taught to do.

Kyro is a 1st grade student. He only had one post which was simply, "I like school." I wrote a simple reply telling him I liked school, too. Though simple, I find it absolutely crazy that a 1st grader is operating a blog. This is a great example of how important it is to keep up with technology. By the time this student is in my class in high school, he will have a more than fluent grasp of all types of media. We MUST keep ourselves current with technology because our students will be!

Junior, as he likes to be called, posted a slide presentation in the form of a postcard. He is a year 6 student in New Zealand. He had a really cool Tongan story about eels and coconuts. It was cool seeing him put his heritage into a school project.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Blog Assignment #9

Scrabble pieces spelling our project based learning

What can teachers and students teach us about Project Based Learning?

7 Essentials for Project Based Learning

This was a great article by John Larmer and John R. Mergendoller. It's basically a checklist of what needs to be incorporated in a PBL project. It lays out step-by-step what the project should include, but more importantly why it should be included. Step 1 "The need to Know" talks about an "entry event" to grab the students' attention. I think this is the most important part of any learning, project based or not. We must grab hold of the students' intrigue and interest or else they will be doodling and counting the minutes until the bell rings. Step 4 "21st Century Skills" was interesting, as well.

Project Based Learning for Teachers

This was a quick 3 minute video by Tony Vincent. It's essentially a "down and dirty" of what PBL is and why we should implement it. It was incredibly well done. The music and visual stimulation held my attention the whole time and I absorbed the information that he was trying to get across. If I am ever asked, from here on out, about what PBL is, I will refer the asking party to this video. I really liked the section towards the end of the video where is was showing how the common core is the WHAT and PBL is the HOW. An absolutely excellent effort from Mr. Vincent.

What Motivates Students?

This was a fantastic video by Suzanne Ball. She interviews 4 students, 3 of whom seem to be in middle school and 1 in high school, about what motivates them to do well and what is a good reward. The high school student picked food as a reward. I actually laughed loud enough my dog came in to investigate what was going on. As much as we can learn from the experiences of other teachers in their PBL endeavors, there will never be as pure a source of information as from the students themselves. I believe they can teach us more about the motivations behind our projects than other educators ever could. I would turn to a colleague for help crafting a project, but would always turn to a student for the motivation behind the project.

I went to YouTube to find the last 2 videos I watched. I typed "what do students want" in the search bar and found these 2 videos here and here. These two videos were made as responses by students when prompted by the questions "What do you want?" and "What do you expect from your teachers?" I was moved by these videos. I mean that in the most sincere way I can. A few of the responses were of an academic nature, but the overwhelming majority were about personal growth and learning life skills. They want to be understood. They want to be given a chance. They want to be individualized. It was really educational, no pun intended, to see these videos from the students. I think we can really use this information when developing our projects. PBL should have a personal touch that will grow the student as a whole, not just in their knowledge of our particular subject matter.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Special Assignment

Comic about a smart phone being smarter than humans

There was a recent study done by Zogby Analytics about the use of smartphones among people aged 18-24 years of age. 87% of participants say they are never without their smartphone. 68% would rather use their smartphones than a personal computer or laptop. I didn't need a study to tell me that this is the way the world is trending. If you just look around everyday, you can see literally almost everyone using a smartphone. I can't think of one student that I know that doesn't have a smartphone. It's the new tool that everyone will have in their tool belts from here on out.

As a future educator, that is exactly how I see this: as a tool. As a learner, that is exactly how I use my smartphone. I use my smartphone to learn all the time. I am constantly Googling words I don't know or looking up something referenced in a textbook I'm unfamiliar with. I have a calculator application I use for math. I think the education system would be dumb not to utilize these smartphones as a resource for today's students.

I would definitely use smartphones in my classroom. I'm a secondary major, so I assume 99% of my high school students would have a smartphone. I would let them use them in class for all types of things. Looking up references, checking statistics, facts of the day apps, Google Maps or Google Earth, and making videos are some of the things I would do, just off the top of my head. I think using the camera app to make videos or a video project would be a great PBL activity for students. Any chance they get to use the smartphone, I think they will jump at. We might as well make it a chance to learn, as well.

Friday, October 10, 2014

C4T #2

For my second Teacher's blog, I was assigned to Jenny She's blog, Jenny's Learning Journey. Jenny has been blogging for a while and is a primary school teacher in New Zealand.

The first post I commented on was a cool story about her getting "snapped" by one of her students. It was a little victory in seeing a student take some initiative and complete a task. I think that the little victories are often the sweetest. Sometimes, after a stressful day, or even week, a small victory in the classroom can give you enough motivation to keep trucking along. I could kind of here that in Jenny's post.

The second post from Mrs. She's blog that I got to comment on was about her getting iPads in her classroom. She was very excited and it was going well so far. She noted that some of her problem students were behaving better and asking to use the iPad as a reward. Here's the catch to that though: only educational apps were on the iPads. Her problem students were not only behaving better in the classroom, but the wanted to learn AS A REWARD! This totally blew me away. It's crazy how eager kids are to learn, if we can just find a way to make it fun for them.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Project #9

This is Group 7's discussion of Prensky's book. If you pay attention, you'll notice I refer to the book by an incorrect title the whole discussion. My most humble apologies to the author.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Blog Assignment #8

Randy Pausch during his last lecture

I remember seeing Dr. Pausch on Oprah when this story first hit the nation. My wife and I watched the interview and were very moved by his story. In the next day or two, I blocked off some time and watched the last lecture online. I remember being impacted by it then, and it impacted just the same watching again, some years later.

The driving question for this assignment was "What can we learn about teaching and learning from Randy Pausch?" There are a few things that I think Dr. Pausch focuses on that can answer this question. The obvious one is that he teaches in a strictly PBL format. He pioneered a course at his University which took PBL to a whole other level. He would assign groups, a project would be due in 2 weeks, he would shuffle groups, rinse and repeat. He made a point that his mentor told him that he didn't know "where the bar was" when it came to the quality of work to expect from his students. I think that is an amazing perspective. In a world of learned helplessness, it is essential we give our students the opportunities to fly.

Dr. Pausch also took the approach of a life long learner. He was always looking for the indirect, or "head fake", lessons in his everyday encounters. He took risks and allowed his students to do the same. Every brick wall presented an opportunity. It was almost as if sometimes he taught in order to learn himself. I think that Dr. Pausch showed that teaching and learning are interconnected.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Project #13

Our group did a plan for an 11th grade history class. The students will be working in groups and doing a digital timeline on the Great Depression. See our plans in the links listed below for more information.

a group of people in the street during the great depression

Project Checklist

Project Overview

Project Calendar

Evaluation Rubric for the Group

Evaluation Rubric for the Individual

Project #7 Four Movies: Part B

Mr. Parrish's History Class: Introduction for Parents

Mr. Parrish's History Class: Introduction for Students

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Blog Assignment #7

The weaknesses I have when it comes to the ever evolving world of education are very obvious to me. It all starts and ends with technology. I had a large gap in between high school and college where I did not have to utilize any technology outside of entertainment purposes. With the rate at which technology becomes obsolete these days, I was left in the proverbial dust. I do, however, believe that I will be able to overcome this through initiative and self-improvement. My time in the military taught me how to adapt and overcome in situations where I was outmatched. I don't believe this to be any different. I will just have to take the opportunities put before me and get back on track.

Stan Marsh from Southpark with text I learned something today

How to Make An Audio QR Code

This was a very interesting tutorial in how to make QR Codes. It was really a simple process utilizing free websites. I would need to watch it a few more times and probably do 3 or 4 myself before feeling proficient, but it seems to be a fairly easy process to master.

iPad in the Reading Center

This is a really cool video about utilizing an iPad's recording function to help with Kindergarten students' reading. They record themselves reading and then listen to it back while following along in the book. The cool part is that it is interactive for the student. The 5 year olds are using the iPads and making a game out of reading. It's another way that technology is making learning fun. I think this just shows how we can use technology to interest the students into learning. The same type of interactive learning is taking place in the Poplet as a Center and Alabama Virtual Library videos. The students get to utilize the iPads to learn. Not only are they learning the subject matter, but they are learning how to use technology to their benefit. I have a 5 year old at home and he loves to do ANYTHING on our iPad. We have downloaded a few educational apps for him and he love it. This is the same thing. They are just as happy to be learning as they are to be playing Angry Birds.

Mrs. Shirley’s 1st Grade Class: How to use and build a Board in DE for a Project Based Lesson

This video blew my mind a little bit. The project the young girl did was extensive in its use of technology, yet ever so simple. Everything she needed was right there and she didn't even have to leave her seat to finish the project! I think this is a great illustration of how technology is making learning advance at a much faster rate. With all the information so readily available, it is easier to master a concept/subject and move on. Students at a much younger age are learning how to do research and complete projects faster.

Students Sharing Board Builder Videos: Part I and Part II

These are two videos of students sharing some of their virtual projects. It goes along the same lines as the Poplet and like videos above. Something that hit me while watching these and not the others was that the students get to show off their work. My mother has a box in the attic of all my old grade school projects, but these students can let anyone with the internet see their projects. Also, it gives the teacher an avenue to give good praise to students by publishing their projects on YouTube.

Using iMovie and AVL in Kindergarten

Having just completed my very first book trailer, I found this video enthralling. That book trailer took me hours! And these kids can make one and spend 90 minutes editing it. I think that this gives great credence to the "learned helplessness" theories out there. If we would just give our students the chance to knock our socks off, they just might do it. I marvel at the things that my 3 and 5 year olds can do when I leave them to their own intuition. Gone are the days of telling a young student what they can and can't learn in certain grades. We really have turned into supervisors of learning more than teachers of facts. And as the We All Become Learners video points out, sometimes the students will be teaching us how to use some of these things. Today's world of education requires us to stay learners for our entire careers.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Project #8: Book Trailer

This is my Book Trailer for The Avengers: The S.H.I.E.L.D. Files. The author is Scott Peterson.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Blog Assignment #6

Anthony Capps is a 3rd Grade teacher in Baldwin County. He and Dr. Strange discussed a great number of things concerning our profession. Anthony gave great insight as a new teacher as to what we can expect. The links to each video are posted below with a small summary of what I thought and learned from each one. It was a great series. I highly suggest clicking the links!

Albert Einstein at a chalk board

Project Based Learning Part 1: Experiences of a 3rd Grade Teacher

The biggest thing I take away from this interview is the emphasis on assuring the project that is chosen is one the kids will enjoy. Now, I'm not masochistic enough to intentionally choose projects I know the students will hate, but I also have the mentality that my reasons are more important than the students' enjoyment. What I mean is that I would try to pick an enjoyable project, but if I found a project that had great learning opportunity I would choose that one. I think that the lessons learned should be prioritized over the enjoyment of learning. I never really thought about the students learning more because of enjoyment of the process, even though another, less fun, project might offer more knowledge. I see now that the benefit of the student enjoying the subject might make them take initiative to learn more on their own.

Project Based Learning Part 2: Experiences of a 3rd Grade Teacher

"[The students] know what they're doing and they know why they're doing it." When Anthony said this, it struck a HUGE chord within me. I think that this is such an important aspect of teaching. Sometimes all a student needs is a reason to do something and "because I said so" or "because it'll be graded" aren't motivating enough to get quality work. I have actually found myself doing some if this is EDM310. I really didn't like or understand our first few assignments, but now I'm starting to see the method behind the madness. It makes putting in the work much easier.


I had never heard of iCurio before watching this video. It really sounds like an amazing tool for students! I think it's great that they can learn these digital organization skills early on in their academic careers. I just learned about Google Drive a few weeks ago in this class. I use it all the time now and wish it had been around (or at least I had known about it) years ago. Anthony made a great point about students having to live life by the bell schedule. Having iCurio to save their work and allow them to pick right back up is a big advantage.

Discovery Education

This is another really cool tool for teachers to have in their belts. I really agree with Dr. Strange's point of us now being "Listener-Watchers." Being able to couple an audio/visual aid to go along with the text subject matter is extremely valuable. Especially if it is one from a subject matter expert. I won't always know about everything that I'm teaching, or that a student chooses to learn about, but having a tool where an expert can be easily found is pretty awesome.

The Anthony-Strange list of Tips for Teachers Part 1

Anthony's first point about letting "your work become a fun experience for you" is so right on the money. Our profession is such an ever evolving craft that we will always be a step behind. If we stop to catch our breath, research and technology will have passed us by. It is essential that we stay current on the most effective and efficient ways to educate our students. We have such a great and demanding responsibility of ensuring our students are educated well that we simply cannot afford to be lazy in the perfection of our craft. Learning how to teach does not end upon graduation from South, it just starts a new chapter.

Don't Teach Tech - Use It

This is the first time I have disagreed with Anthony so far in this series, although I don't totally disagree with him. I think his process of scaffolding and implementing something new each week is great. I WOULD, however, teach the technology first. I think a formal lecture with hands on learning would be beneficial before letting the students dive in and learn from their own mistakes. I think the greatest amount of learning will come from the scaffolding and trial-and-error method of which Anthony was speaking, but I think a good knowledge base of the product would be beneficial, too.

Additional Thoughts About Lessons

I was a little lost because I have not had a class on Lesson Plans yet, but this made my head hurt a little. It seems that lesson plans will not be one of the more fun aspects of the job!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

C4K Summary for September

Logan's blog is really quite impressive for a 10 year old. He, like most boys, seems to have a passion for sports. He had a slide show that listed a sport which began with each letter of the alphabet. I commented on the slide show and how I was impressed he found a sport for all the letters. I talked about how excited I was for football season here in America and asked him which sport was his favorite. It would be kind of cool to start a dialogue with a kid halfway across the world.

Amelia's blog is a little less refined than the other one I viewed. Though, she only has two posts, so the sample size is much smaller. She also hasn't posted since this April. Her post was just a quick recap of a typical 5th grade girl's weekend. Her and a friend had a sleepover, ran through the sprinklers, ate junk food, played Monopoly, etc. I asked her about her weekend and told her about playing Monopoly with my kids. She seems like a really fun little girl. She also talked eating "milk tart." I had never heard of that before, so I did a Google search. You're welcome.

Jillian's blog was very confusing to read at first. Her post was about the "100 word challenge" her class was doing. They had to write a story including 5 given words and the story had to be written using only 100 words. She wrote about an orange crocodile. I had to go back to her teacher's blog to get the context of this unusual story. She used the word "lugubrious" in her story on her own accord. I had to go look it up. It means looking or sounding sad and dismal. I think it's pretty cool that I was able to learn something from this young girl's blog.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Project #3 Presentation

Blog Assignment #5

collage of text with various social networking names

Personal Learning Network (PLN)

Reading the instructions for this blog post is the first time I have ever heard of a "Personal Learning Network." A PLN s the set of people and tools that you can call upon for help, consultation, collaboration, or other assistance. I've actually had a PLN for well over the last 5 years. Many of us have a social network through Facebook or Twitter, but I actually had to utilize a social learning network during my time as a Marine Corps Recruiter. The other recruiters in my area and myself were required to interact and share job related experiences and learning opportunities with each other through a shared drive in Microsoft Outlook. Now, we didn't call it PLN and I didn't even know that that is what we were doing, but it was exactly that. We would share sales techniques, links to leads and interesting articles pertaining to our sectors, among many other things. It was specifically a network to learn more about our jobs and be constantly improving ourselves. That is exactly what a PLN should be.

This same sort of network will be a very valuable asset as a future teacher. It's an amazing age that we live in today. I would have never thought it possible to have real time communication with colleagues anywhere in the world, just 10 years ago. Now, the abundance of peer communication and sharing of knowledge is just a few clicks away. Not utilizing an asset such as this would be like not spending free money that expired at the end of the day.

Symbaloo logo

A PLN can be utilized using any media outlet. I'm a member of several groups on Facebook that deal with multiple different topics. I follow a multitude of sports writers on Twitter (obviously I'm not learning academically there, but I am constantly learning about the current activities in the sports world). It really only takes a group of like individuals to find a medium through which they can share knowledge and experiences. I just created an account on Symabaloo to start my own PLN. You can check it out here.

When I eventually get my first teaching job I will probably try to join some already established PLNs. I also will keep one of my own. So far, I really like the Symbaloo site. I can keep both professional and pleasure activities from one home page. I like that I won't have to have two different sites or pages to conduct my life. This is probably one of the cooler things I've been able to experience so far in EDM310. I'm looking forward to exploring into it much further.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

C4T #1

I was assigned to read a great blog called See Mary Teach. Mary is an English teacher and has been blogging since 2009. Her blog is very extensive and contains a multitude of posts ranging on all ends of the spectrum of subjects.

The first post I commented on was a brief synopsis of a multigenre project she did with her high schoolers. I was interested in the way she instituted "to-do" lists to help get some of her students organized. She also used a kind of depressing and sorrowful literary passage to evoke an emotional response and discussion from her students. I really liked that technique and appreciated its boldness. I think it is important to push students outside of their normal comfort zones to illicit profound and new thoughts from them.

The second post was a very short post in which she links a New York Times article which discusses the decline of the English major. Her post a simple short comment on the article and a link to it. The article had a section calling on educators to do a better job in explaining the purpose of the humanities to students. This resonated with me and I commented on that to Mary. We, as educators, need to be able to sell our knowledge as something beneficial to prospective students. We can't just hope they sign up to, or are mandated to attend, our classes.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Project #15: Search Engines

text reading I wonder what is better google yahoo or bing wait i will google it

The following is my review on 8 separate search engines. But, wait! Where's Google?! Why don't you have Google in your reviews?! I know, I know. Google is the mother of all things on the internet and must be included, right? Well, our instructions are to not use Google in this review. Though, in reality, does anyone really need a review for Google? Don't we all know that it's the best? I'll compare the others by using Google as the gold standard. Alright, moving on to the other 8 search engines.


Everyone with a working knowledge of the internet should be fairly familiar with Yahoo!. It actually was founded before Google. It works in the same way as Google. It has a search bar and you simply type in what you want. It has an auto-fill feature and displays results in the same format as Google. They are essentially clones of each other. Yahoo! can be used to search for just about anything and will yield good results. It is a solid competitor to Google.


Bing is probably the next best known engine. It is newer, having just been released at the end of last decade. It is very similar to Yahoo! and Google. It has the same type of search bar with auto-fill feature. It also has the same layout to display search results. Essentially, this is an equivalent of the other top engines previously mentioned. It has great results and is easy to navigate. One could use this engine to search for pretty much anything, as well.


Ask is another popular search engine, albeit less than the previous ones, with a pretty solid reputation. Modeled much like the others, it is very efficient. It has a "Q&A" section on the right hand column that prompts possible questions to whatever the search criteria was. I find this feature to be useful when searching for a specific answer to a question, not just information on a topic. It would have to be a simple question, as the answers provided don't go in depth.


SearchAll is a engine I have never heard of until about 5 minutes ago. It has a search bar, but it does not auto-fill. Which I found to be rather annoying. It displays the search results is the same basic way as a Google or Yahoo!. It has a related searches feature and a recent searches feature. This site isn't really ascetically pleasing. Not that that has anything to do with its capabilities, but in today's age it is important to please the eye. SearchAll is a lesser version of a search engine. One could find everything it could get from here, but in much better quality, on any of the above mentioned sites.


DogPile is a search engine that provides results from Google and Yahoo!. It is has a related searches feature and "Are you looking for?" feature. It has the typical search bar, but it does not auto-fill. This site is more atheistically pleasing than SearchAll and seems to provide some higher quality search results. Yet, the results are all provided by Google and Yahoo!, so it would seem more logical to go to each of those sites first. DogPile is one of the search engines that will give you a link to whatever information you are trying to look for.


DuckDuckGo is another search engine of which I had not heard. It is the better of the unknown ones about which I have written so far. It has an auto-fill feature in its search bar. It has a "news" feature at the top of the results page that links to recent articles containing the search topic. This is a really cool feature. This would be a great site to look up news on for a specific topic from multiple news sources at one time.


Lycos is a search engine that yields results in the same fashion as some of the "big boys." It has a search bar, but does not auto-fill. It has a large database and appears to work very proficiently. It offers an image search section, much like Google, and is very compatible with most searches I tried. Lycos also opens up the chosen link in a new tab. I don't like this, but that's a personal preference. I would use this engine, but it would be at the bottom of my list.


This is another engine that I have never heard of before a few minutes ago. It markets itself as a "computational knowledge engine." I think that is the perfect description. It has a search bar with auto-fill function on its homepage, but that's where most of the similarities end. The search results don't provide links with mentions of the searched word or words, but with information pertaining to the searched word or words. It's really fascinating; I have yet to experience a site like this. When the search bar is given a general topic, such as "football", it returns multiple secondary search bars for more specific and related topics, such as "football player" or "football teams". This is an excellent site to get reliable information about any topic, not a site to find a site that has the information for which one is looking. This was, by far, the most interesting site I visited for this project.