Sunday, December 4, 2011

Final Project

Final Report on PLN

While my PLN has expanded to include other websites and various tools, Reddit still dominates my PLN and internet time. It is the king of my PLN and I don't think it will be dethroned anytime soon. Quite simply put it is an all encompassing website for my personal preferences. If I want to explore TED talks, there is a reddit for that. If I want to review the latest technology, there is a reddit for that. If I want to follow the latest trends in education, there is a reddit for that as well! It has been my personal experience that everything I've looked for and wanted to learn more about I can find on that website. In my opinion it also offers the best and easiest way to blog and communicate with peers seeking and sharing the same information. While it's great to use apps such as symbaloo to wrangle in all of the sites one prefers in an easily accessible grid and I can see how that would appeal to people, I personally prefer my subreddits and reddit bookmarks because it seems to me like a PLN within a PLN, within a PLN, within a PLN within...(this goes on for a while as it's pretty much a super mega inception PLN.) Having said all of that however, my PLN is ever expanding and I look forward to finding new websites and apps to add as I keep exploring all of the wonderful things that technology has to offer.

C4T #4

My first comment was on Mrs. Burt's post about the apple sMACdown conference. It was a meeting for Mac enthusiasts to gather and share techniques and apps unique to apple products. I commented that I myself was a Mac user and that I thought it would be fun to attend one of those conferences one day. My second comment was on her post about The Manaiakalani Film Festival. It's purpose wasn't to award, but to showcase what schools in her district learned, created, and shared. I commented that it seemed like a cool idea and that I wish I'd had the opportunity to attend festivals like that when I was in grade school.

Blog Assignment #14

Jose Picardo is a languages teacher and blogger. Part of this assignment was to watch one of his youtube videos where he offers 10 tips for integrating technology into the classroom. These tips are: (1) Stream Videos. (2) Incorporate Music. (3) Use Teleconferencing tools. (4) Use Interactive Exercises. (5) Do more with your Smartboard. (6) Create Podcasts. (7) Create a Blog or Wiki. (8) Utilize Social Networks. (9) Take Advantage of free Internet Tools. (10) Allow Students to use Gadgets to Enhance Learning. I believe that he is spot on with this list and that if all teachers were able to add at least one of these suggestions to their lesson plans it would vastly improve the learning environment for their students. I plan to incorporate all of them in my personal curriculum, however the tips I will place the most emphasis on are streaming videos, incorporating music, creating podcasts, maintaining a class blog, utilizing social networks and encouraging students to use their own gadgets for enhanced learning. The reason I'm more prone to focus on these areas is because they interest me the most as a student, although I realize not everyone learns the same way so I will also implement numerous other strategies to help each individual optimize their learning and educational experience in my classroom.

Mr. Picardo also has a list on his blog of A-Z Resources for Education. This page has an extensively substantial (but not all inclusive) number of resources to assist educators with enhancing their lesson plans with various internet tools and it is an excellent way to help achieve the goal of optimizing the educational experience for students. I have tinkered with or already familiar with a number of the resources on the list, but there are many more that seem exciting and that I have bookmarked to learn more about for my personal learning network. Mr. Picardo also request that if there is a link not posted that anyone thinks would be helpful to contact him so he can add it. I believe all teachers can benefit from taking a look at this post.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Blog Assignment #13

My Teacher is an App
This article discusses cyber schooling and the online learning experiences. It details trends in American public high school education and some of the changes that are occurring within the profession. It also compares and contrasts traditional versus blended or completely online classrooms and schools.

I really enjoyed this article. I personally advocate blended classrooms and curriculums where students meet in person with a teacher on a regular basis, but the work for the class is predominantly online and learning is enhanced by technology. This article however made some strong arguments for why complete cyber schooling could be a better option. A lot of the points made sense and I personally feel that I would have thrived in attending a high school like that. I don't believe that all students can succeed this way though. While cyber school is an awesome concept, I believe some children will be better suited to learning in the traditional or blended educational environment. The article alluded to this point as well, but overall the verdict is still out as far as which system is the most effective. I look forward to seeing how the future of education develops as more and more of these cyber schools pop up and continue to develop.

Project #13 Smart Board Instruction

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Blog Assignment #12

For this blog assignment, make a youtube music video playlist with a minimum of 5 videos that portray important life concepts or ideas you would like your students to learn, exhibit ideals pertaining to your teaching philosophy, or a mixture of the two. Write a blog post describing why you chose these particular songs and what you would like your students to learn from them.

The Songs I chose for this assignment (in no particular order of importance) are as follows:

1. The Black Eyed Peas: Where is the Love.
I chose this song because it highlights a lot of major social problems the world is currently facing. I believe it is important for students to realize these problems for two major reasons; the first so that they may identify with others going through similar struggles or to appreciate their situation in relation to others. The second reason I believe it is important for students to become familiar with these issues is so they can think about ways to improve them in the future.

2.Rage Against The Machine: Renegades of Funk
There is a saying that goes, "In order to move forward in the future, you must first learn from the past." I chose this song because I believe it is important for students to learn about influential figures throughout history that have affected the social construct of our world today. This song also portrays the idea that in order to have continual and lasting positive change we will need renegades to continue to push boundaries. I believe it is important for students to realize that they have the power to make lasting change in the world with the causes they support if they really dedicate themselves to it and this song is a positive reinforcer of that message.

3.Sick Puppies: Riptide
I chose this song because I like the message it portrays. It encourages everyone to follow their dreams and do what makes them happy regardless of extrinsic pressures. I believe it is important for students to follow their dreams and feel free to express themselves. It is also important for them to feel comfortable with their own personal development and growth which this song is a strong advocate for.

4.Jack Johnson: Cookie Jar
I chose this song because it sends the message that people need to accept responsibility be accountable for their actions. It also shows that if people don't do these things that blame just passes around and nothing gets accomplished. I believe this is an important ideal for students to learn that not only applies to school work and behavior, but also to future job and career environments. Employers and bosses look for people who are willing to take responsibility for their actions and be accountable for the work that they must do. This song promotes those concepts and I believe students can benefit from these practices.

5. Brett Dennen: Ain't No Reason
The final song of this playlist was chosen because it portray's the idea that there are some unfortunate things in the world that everyone has to deal with. It exemplifies that everyone has struggles and adversities that they must try to overcome. However it also portrays that there are some terrible circumstances and situations in the world that have yet to be conquered and changed. It shows that there are some socially devastating barriers that we have still yet to break, and that until we can overcome them, there will be some situations that everyone must simply endure and deal with to the best of their ability.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Blog Assignment #11

Little Kids...Big Potential
In this video, students in Mrs. Cassidy's first grade class talk about how they use technology to help them learn. They detail what they like about the technologies that they use and the how it benefits them.
This was a really interesting video. It was really refreshing to see how the kids were interacting and learning with technology from such an early age. I'm actually a bit jealous that I didn't have that same kind of technological learning environment when I was a first grader because of how much fun it seemed they were having while learning so much. I definitely believe that getting involved in internet enhanced learning so early in their educational careers will pay exponential dividends in their continued development. It was also really cool to hear them talk about getting comments from edm 310 students. They seemed to really enjoy that and it feels good to have a small impact on their lives and know that they appreciate our comments. My favorite part of Mrs. Cassidy's curriculum however is incorporating Nintendo DS games into the school day. I remember the days when I used to get in trouble for playing video games in grade school when in reality I often learned more from playing them than what the teacher was lecturing on on any given day.

Skype Interview with Ms. Cassidy
In this video Dr. Strange interviews Mrs. Cassidy as she answers questions about her teaching methods and how she has incorporated technology into her classroom. I definitely plan on using blogs in my classroom. I want my students to be able to critically analyze health articles and write about them as well as be able to write health articles themselves based on the information I teach them as well as information they will gather from health videos, podcasts, and projects. I also plan on allowing them to use their own personal handheld devices for supplemental learning as there are vast excellent health related apps as well as new ones being developed each and every day. I believe this approach will benefit my students because it will make learning some difficult health concepts easier than with strictly traditional lecturing. I also believe it will help them to become more engaged in the learning process as well as retain more information as it will make concepts more tangible. The main concern as far as impediments go however is that with there can be some subjects, such as sex education, that certain people may be sensitive due to religious affiliations or personal moral conflicts. These may inhibit some of the media I would want to show to these students, but I believe alternative assignments could be issued for these special circumstances that would satisfy the curriculum by communicating with these students, their parents, and the school system so we are all on the same page.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

C4T #3

Angela's latest post was about the ipad and how it is being used in the classroom. She talked about some practical applications of it and how teachers are incorporating it in various fields. I commented and told her that we have some ipads in the edm310 class and I told her that I enjoyed using them in school as well.

In her post from this week, Angela wrote about "Waiting for Superman," and why it's not necessarily a good thing. She described how waiting for something to come and reform education just isn't good enough and how we have the tools and ability to act now to initiate reform. I commented and agreed with her saying all we have to do now is suit up.

Blog Assignment #10

Do You Teach or Do You Educate?
This video aims to set a distinction between what it means to one who teaches, or one who educates. It opens with some dreadfully haunting and spiritualistic Indian style music accompanied by depressing background images as it flashes dull and drab dictionary descriptions of what it means to teach. The music takes a turn and becomes more upbeat however when the message shifts to descriptions of what it means to be an educator. The text and background images also become more lively until the video ultimately ends after flashing some quotes from Peter Brougham, Martin Luther King, and Socrates about educating.

The main idea of this video is to get people to think about their own philosophies and how they approach the classroom. It is designed to want to make you reflect upon your habits and what kind of model you want to represent. Do you want to simply be a teacher imparting knowledge and understanding on a seemingly shallow level while doing nothing more than pushing your students to understand your portrayed information on a surface level, or do you want to be an educator who instills deeper values, promotes imagination, innovation and inspiration, fosters personal growth and development, and opens up endless opportunities for your students? The choice is up to you.

Don't Let Them Take Pencils Home
In this post, a Mr. Tom Johnson chronicles a discussion with Gertrude, his school curriculum instructional interventionist about the dangers and negative effects that occur when children take home pencils. Tom argues that he finds nothing wrong with it and in fact encourages the behavior. Gertrude protests him by detailing some points about how standardized test scores are lowered because of this behavior and why she believes it is a problem. Tom rebuttals by describing to her a program which he has developed to help his students work with their parents to learn constructively by using the pencils and explains that test scores can't truly depict the breadth of learning and supplemental education that can come about by using the pencils.

John Spencer has a very interesting writing style. His posts always have subtle humor and sarcasm while making intelligent points and shedding light on the odd ways in which some people approach problems in the educational system, albeit I personally find them somewhat dry which can cause my attention to fade. In this post particularly, he references standardized testing and how educators can become too ingrained with the outcomes of the scores. He alludes to people who are dissatisfied with the outcomes blaming the shortcomings on irrelevant notions and labeling them as problems when in all actuality they could be solutions. Regardless of the problem however, the focus should be on finding these solutions rather than arguing over procedures and making sure students are being properly educated as opposed to just worrying about test scores.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Blog Assignment #9

At The Teacher's Desk: Joe McClung
In his 2008-2009 reflection, Mr. Joe McClung talks about his growth and development as a teacher and as a person from his first year of teaching. He conveys what he believes are important concepts for all teachers to remember, but are especially applicable to new teachers. These particular points of interest include: reading the crowd, being flexible, communicating efficiently, being flexible, embracing technology, listening to your students, and staying personally invested in the process of learning in your own life.

Mr. McClung's first reflection pertains to the mindset of the teacher. He talks about how easy it can be to fall into the trap of being too concerned about being assessed by superiors and losing focus on making sure your students comprehend what you're trying to teach them. His next three points go hand in hand as he talks about flexibility, communication, and being reasonable. He argues that in order to be effective, one must let their audience drive their instruction. He then goes on to talk about flexibility as it pertains to lesson planning. He describes how it would drive him crazy at first when his lessons weren't perfect, but he learns from this and conveys to us the thought that no lesson is ever perfect, so when things go wrong just go with it and try to make it better with a smile on your face as you do. He goes on to say that communication is the best medicine and way to resolve any issues as well as build rapport. In the same token, it is important to have reasonable expectations as he describes in his next point. He details how it is good to have high expectations for students, but reminds us that they are children who aren't perfect just as we aren't perfect as their instructors. In this regard, he says it is important to just keep encouraging them and be positive while working them to achieve the educational goals.

Mr. McClung's next point pertains to technology in education. Much like Dr. Strange and many of the sources for these blog posts have advocated, Mr. McClung urges the importance of integrating technology in the classroom as he encourages teachers to just "jump in head first" and embrace technology as our friend. He then goes on to talk about listening to students as he believes teachers don't know enough about their students. He believes that this aspect of teaching is vital in regards to cultivating good student-teacher relationships. He then closes his post by encouraging us to never stop learning. He argues that as teachers practically beg students to learn every day, its only right to continue to grow and develop as an educator yourself.

In his 2010-2011 reflection, Mr. McClung opens talking about the changes that have taken place in his career. These include being a head coach, coaching the cross country team, teaching a computer applications class, and teaching at the same school for more than one year.

After these opening statements, He gets right to the heart of the matter and expresses his first point of knowing who your boss is. He talks about being a people pleaser and how if one isn't careful it can become a distraction from the main objective, which is focusing on their students. While serving the administration is important, he argues that it is imperative for the decision making process to be student centered and not around pleasing adults. He then reminds us to not expect others to be as excited about a change as we may be as well as encourages us not to be fear being "Outsiders." He talks about his personality, being an optimist, and how pessimistic peers may try to rain on your parade or influence you negatively in any way. He also talks about being true to yourself and comfortable with your teaching methods and core values regardless of how others perceive you so as to be the most effective teacher you can be.

From there, Mr. McClung talks about "Not touching the keyboard." This, as he explains, means allowing the students to do the work themselves and not trying to take over their work for them. While they may struggle at first, he argues that this method will help them learn better and tackle concepts for the end game. He closes the post by telling us not to get comfortable as routines, while they can be effective, may foster apathy. Instead he encourages us to continually strive for new goals and add new activities to foster growth and motivation.

I really enjoyed reading these reflection posts by Mr. McClung. They were quite insightful and interesting as well as motivating and inspirational. The posts were also well written and I could tell how invested he is in his kids and career which is always refreshing. As an optimist, my favorite part about reading these is that they were written by another optimist. It made it really easy to connect with him and get a feel for where he was coming from and his mindset in the writing. It also made his points stick with me a little better as it seems we have a similar type of mindset when it comes to many of the topics he reflected upon. I was very pleased to see that he isn't complacent and always looks to challenge himself with new goals and experiences. I myself am the same way and always look to for new things to do, goals to add, and accomplishments to achieve. I believe these are especially important qualities to have as a teacher, especially in terms of personal development as Mr. McClung also discusses in these reflections. Overall the advice that Mr. McClung offers is excellent and applies not only to teachers, but to everyone in general. In summary, flexibility, communication, staying positive, and staying true to yourself and core values are crucial to being happy and successful in any profession. It is also important to continually look to improve, avoid complacency, and focus on the things of true importance over political agenda to have a truly fulfilling, satisfying, and rewarding life and career.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Project #12 Book Trailer

Blog Assignment #8

This is how we dream:
In part one of this 2 part video series, Dr. Richard E. Miller discusses the changes that have been made in academic writing. He talks about how research has switched from reading print based materials in libraries to reading academic writings via the internet. He also details how the writing process has changed with the internet and use of the personal computer. He explains that he believes it is an incremental change and he shows examples of this with some of his personal work while talking about networking and using multimedia materials to enhance work.

In part 2, Dr. Miller talks about the accessibility of new materials and technologies that can are being used to create academic productions. He also talks about how we can get behind these technologies as he shares his hope of how use them to change the educational system. He believes this is the way to push ideas into culture and the only limitations are those that we place on ourselves.

This series was very interesting. I really liked the idea of getting behind the technology and using the internet and its widely various applications to create educational projects. As a hands on learner this appealed to me, especially because writing traditional papers gets boring and monotonous sometimes. I also really enjoyed the idea of the green classroom that attempts to unite humanities and the sciences. As art is one of my hobbies and health science my major, this idea really appeals to me. I can see the practical use of these technologies forming a positive crossover in both fields and look forward to a future where hopefully it will be a standard of the health science learning curriculum.

Blog Post #12 by Carly Pugh:
Carly's blog post was excellent! It is a great idea to make a playlist on youtube of videos for your students to watch and also a great idea to have students make their own playlists. I believe she demonstrated Dr. Miller's hopes for multi-media writing very well. The post was very well written, easy to follow, and the links provided make it interesting and entertaining. This post is also an excellent representation of how PLN's and social media can help enhance education and the learning experience for both teachers and students.

The Chipper Series:
In this video a student named Chipper gets frustrated with Dr. Strange's class. She doesn't like the amount of work that she has to put into it and she procrastinates and tries to find loopholes so she can do the bare minimum of work and still get by. After a while she decides the path she is on just doesn't satisfy her so she goes on a series of "adventures" doing odd jobs and trying to figure out her life. She fails miserably each time, but is ever optimistic moving on to the point in her life. Eventually she comes to realize that There are no shortcuts in life which is the main point of the video. Thankfully she has a mental cleansing and decides to go back to school and put forth the effort necessary to accomplish her goals.

Edm310 for Dummies:
In this video, the group is frustrated with the work that they have to do and all of the technologies they have to work with. They are relieved however when they discover the book, Edm for dummies, which helps them overcome their technological illiteracy's to become successful in the class. I think the primary message of this video is that this class can be conquered by anyone if they put the time and work into following the syllabus and getting help from the staff as needed.

I'm still not entirely sure what kind of video I'd like to create after watching these. I imagine doing something related to health either with drugs or exercise, but the flash of creativity and inspiration hasn't really hit me yet. Maybe I'll do something related to a student using their PLN to help a peer that has had some sort of accident, but as with most of my work I'm never really quite sure what I'll do until I actually start doing it.

Learn to change, change to learn:
In this video, various educators talk about what needs to be changed in education in the classroom. They discuss technology and how it can and should be used to enhance rather than hinder learning. They speak about how children are different today than they were when they were younger and how the current traditional educational structure doesn't make a good fit for them. They talk about social networking and all of the way kids learn today that don't happen within the walls of the school and they discuss why these things need to be changed.

This video, to me, served as a clean and concise representation of what many of our projects in edm310 have focused on trying to get us to realize. It reiterates what I believe are the main themes of the class that Dr. Strange is trying to teach us in that, 1. We need to use technology in our classrooms and in our curriculums to the best of our advantage and to get the most out of our students while promoting creativity. 2. While many people in the field of education realize this now, it is up to us as the future of education to really make a push concrete change and a universally accepted technologically based system. And 3. We need to be malleable, always accepting of change and the positive prospects it can bring.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Blog Assignment #7

Randy Pausch Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams
In this video, Randy Pausch talks about achieving your childhood dreams. He talked about the dreams he had growing up as a child of wanting to be in zero gravity, play in the NFL, write an article for the encyclopedia, become Captain Kirk, winning stuffed animals, and working as a Disney imagineer. Most of these he was able to accomplish and for the few that were impossible he was successful in doing something closely related. He details all of the things he gained chasing these dreams and all of the positive experiences along the way. Pausch also tells stories of his triumphs and struggles as progressed through his academic career. He relates every story to main points that he believes are essential to help getting through life. Pausch also alludes to what he calls "head fakes," which are points of hidden deeper meaning or understanding and life learning lessons.

My favorite part of the lecture was when Dr. Pausch was showing off the work of his students in the building virtual worlds class that he created. The projects were very interesting and entertaining. It's amazing to think how far virtual reality has come since then. I was really intrigued by his stories about teaching the class and it makes me wish I was able to take it.

I think it's awesome that virtual reality and tools such as second life can be used to teach. Watching this video made me think of an interesting way to teach holistic health to students. It would be interesting to take a class and assign each student a number of virtual avatars such as sims characters. These characters would live in a world thats physics mimic our own and all have various degrees of health problems and issues. The objective of the class would be to take the avatars and design healthful training and nutrition regimes to encourage the avatars to reach their optimum levels of health.

Overall I really enjoyed this presentation. Randy Pausch is an excellent speaker and amazing person. It's unfortunate that he had to leave the earth the way he did, but he made it a better place while he was here.

Project #11 Short Movie

Part 1:

Part 2:

Timetoast Project 9b

Project #10 Personal Learning Network

Since beginning Edm310 this semester, my PLN has vastly expanded. Many sites that I used to use purely for entertainment have become a major part of my learning experience. Youtube is an excellent example as it has been a very important source for many of my blog projects. While it is a great site to watch hilarious videos of people making fools of themselves, music videos, cartoons, and many other entertaining videos, there are many educational videos that have taught me a lot on various subjects. Blogger has also been an excellent resource. I really enjoy the C4T, C4C, and C4K assignments because it is interesting to read what other people have to say about the things they are passionate for. One of my favorite aspects about this class so far has been using twitter as an educational resource. I had already been familiar with tweeting as a social networking medium prior to taking this class and enjoyed it, but using it as a professional resource never really crossed my mind. The two aspects of Edm310 that I have unexpectedly enjoyed as well as expanded my PLN have been podcasting and the TED talks. I'm not a big fan of listening to speech's or lectures and most talk show programs tend to bore me fairly easily, but there have been some interesting videos and podcast to watch and listen to so far in this class. My favorite PLN resource however is Reddit.

Reddit is a blogging community where it's members post interesting and pertinent articles or self posts in specific categories. It is personalized in the sense that users can subscribe to the topics they like and block the ones that they don't. It has a great interface because all of the subjects you are interested in show up on the home page so you can just scroll down and explore the posts that catch your eye. You can also browse by the specific sub categories and either up vote or down vote posts based on if you liked it. It is a great PLN resource because it makes it very easy to jump into discussions on any topic and it's very organized. It also has its own mailing system for personal messages or general public comments. I use reddit to follow articles on science, technology, health, nutrition, fitness, psychology, sociology, and education. These categories that I follow barely scratch the surface of how many categories there are to follow as it truly is a website where everybody can find something they are interested in.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Project #8

Blog Assignment #6

The Networked Student
In this video by Wendy Drexler, the pros of the theory of connectivism are discussed. This theory suggests that students learn by building personal connections and learning networks to teach themselves. These networks can include connecting with bloggers, academic writers, and professors through a wide range of mediums such as skype, itunes university, rss feeds, google scholar, and numerous others. It also allows the student to explore and delve deeper into specific points of personal interest within the given subject as well as easily connect with other students to share and express ideas and opinions. This video: Welcome to my PLE by a 7th grade science student is a prime example of that. After watching it I'm honestly quite a bit jealous of her PLE. It was a good refresher and motivator to continue to grow and improve my own.

With this theory, the question of why networked students even need a teacher arises. While I like the idea of connectivism in education, I still believe it is important to have a teacher. While this teacher may not be traditional in the aspect of lecture and testing, having a teacher experienced in the subject matter can help supplement the learning of the networked students. The teacher could and should also be networked and be able to help the students build their personal networks. I also believe that while a lot can be learned by connectivism, the traditional classroom lecture should not be completely banished. In this video, the students met in class three days a week and had online work two days a week, but the teacher never lectured. While I like this set up, I personally would still like to have a traditional lecture at least one of those class days and if I were the teacher I would lecture one of those days.

Riding the Horse of Change

With the way technology is ever evolving and improving, all educators and future educators must ask themselves if they are ready to be the teacher of a networked student. I personally embrace this educational challenge. I believe having network students will be beneficial for both me as the teacher and my students as it will be easier to grow and learn together cultivating a unique educational experience. Having this type of technology and teaching style makes it easier to connect with students on an individualized personal level and really get to know how they feel and what they think on various subjects as well as what really interests them. All in all I look forward to the future of education and seeing how connectivism can positively impact the learning of both teacher and student.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Timetoast Project 9a

C4T #2

In this C4T I commented on the blog of Jenny Luca. Both posts were "School's Out Friday," a series of videos that Jenny posts for humor and follows with some encouraging comments. The first video was of a high school math teacher using popular rap music to help his students learn calculus concepts. I commented to Jenny thanking her for posting it as it helped me remember some principles myself. She also wrote about the work she had been doing so far in the semester with planning various school functions and activities. She commented back saying she was pleased that I took something from it and happy she had finished some of her planning objectives.

The Second Video was of a marriage proposal seemingly gone awry. In her comments she seemed to enjoy the proposal so I sent her a link to a video of another impressive proposal. She also wrote that it was the end of the term in Victoria where she teaches and that she was now on holiday break and looking forward to getting some rest and relaxation. She also admitted that she has been slacking on her blog posts lately, but plans on finishing some things she was working on over the time off and in the weeks soon to come.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Blog Assignment #5

Don’t teach your kids this stuff. Please?
Scott McLeod is an Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Kentucky. He founded CASTLE, the nation’s only academic center dedicated to the technology needs of school administrators. He is also a co-creator of the video series, "Did You Know?"

In this post, Dr. McLeod lists numerous ways technology can be used to help educate children and enhance their academic experience. When you first start reading the post, it seems as if he is against the notion of these technologies because its written with a pessimistic tone in descending broken text. This does a very good job of setting the stage for argument reversal in the end however when he makes his point that if parents, teachers, administrators, and board members don't allow the integration of technology into the curriculum, their children will be a step behind.

I agree with the overall message that Dr. McLeod is trying to convey in this post. While there are some bad things on the web that you want censor for kids, the internet and technology in general can be excellent tools for engaging children in the learning process. As anyone that spends anytime with children will realize, they thrive on being creative, innovative, and actively engaged in activities. Imagination is a driving force behind much of the psychological motivation in children and children are becoming more and more proficient in using technology at an early age these days as personal computers and smart gadgets become regular household and even personal items. When you think of it this way it seems silly, at least to me, to withhold technology from them in one of the most important aspects of their life. Instead of rejecting technology from curriculums, educators should embrace the tools available today to enhance the learning environment. While I don't believe there is anything wrong with pencil and paper work, the fact of the matter is it just isn't necessarily as stimulating to a child as a technology enhanced project could be. While children are young and still thrive on their imagination I believe it is important to nourish and stimulate it in the best and most effective ways possible. I believe technology can be used to achieve this purpose and educators should take advantage of this crucial phase of mental and psychological development.

Be open to new things

More 'Simple Truth's of Life' Illustrations

The iSchool initiative (Mobile Learning)
In this video Travis Allen discusses how the ipod touch can benefit schools and students on an individual level as well as reform education across the board. He goes into detail on various apps that could aid teachers in numerous subjects as well as the positive economical effects of the initiative. He also advocates how the technology can benefit the community by holding both teachers and students accountable while simultaneously improving parental connections and administrative institutional unity.

I really enjoyed this presentation by Travis. I remember when the first iPod touches first came out. I and most of my class mates got them for Christmas or out birthday's in our junior year and almost everyone in my graduating class had one by our senior year. It annoyed many of our teachers to no end and often got us into trouble because our teachers wouldn't believe us when we told them they had real educational value when we used them in class. While that may have been a valid reason to disapprove of them when the first generation came out, I believe it is now an invalid reason. With all of the apps that have been created specifically for the purpose of education over the past few years it is impossible to deny the positive impact this technology can have on learning.

Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir - 'Lux Aurumque'
In this video, Eric Whitacre directs a virtual Choir through the use of webcams and composes all of the recordings into a beautiful, harmonic masterpiece. I love videos like this that combine the power and innovation of technology and the internet with creative skills and ideas of artists. As an artist myself I really enjoy and appreciate how the world of art has evolved because of technology. While I love traditional style art pieces in terms of drawing and painting, I also enjoy the newer aspects of digital art. I love being able to share, find, communicate, and collaborate with other artists through the internet. This video is a perfect example on how the internet and technology can be used to collaborate with other people on large scale projects. It's quite neat and unique and I love the idea that all of the people participating in the project have entirely different backgrounds, motivations, and paths of life, yet come together to produce this unified and amazingly well put together project. It is an excellent example of the human network becoming more global and interconnected. This is very promising also because it increases the field of talent you could find and work with for projects. As we journey further and further into a future filled with technological advances one can only dream of the future artistic ventures we will be able to pursue.

Teaching In the 21st Century
This video by Kevin Roberts raises a very important question. What is the role of teachers in this century? As the video alluded to, information is readily available and at the fingertips of students today. As a result, teachers are not necessarily the main conveyers of factual knowledge to their pupils anymore, but filters. I agree whole heartedly with this sentiment. Anyone can simply google a topic that they are interested in and be presented with an overwhelming wealth of knowledge. While this is definitely a positive thing, it has its problems as well. Because it is so easy to google information, it is equally as easy to come across false or misinterpreted information. For this reason it is imperative to teach critical reading and analysis as well as research skills. This way not only would a student be able to find and supplement their education with personal research, but they would learn the skills necessary to seek truth and debunk pseudoscientific research in all subject areas. I personally have been fortunate enough in my academic tenure to have multiple teachers and professors in both high school and college that thought and taught this as well. I can honestly say that developing critical reading and analysis skills because of these teachers has had the most profound impact on my learning than any factual information I've learned in a class. I'm a frequent reader of various scientific, psychological, sociological, medical, and health blogs. I cringe at the very thought of possibly accepting some of the things I've read on these blogs throughout the years as fact if I had not been taught these skills by my teachers. I realize the major impact these skills have had on my personal education and I plan on imparting them in my future students as well. After all, the answer to a question can always be found, but you have to know how to look if you want it to be correct.

To hear and see what other educators have to say about this and various other topics check out the new Teacher Wall and Education Nation!

Angry Man Gorilla Smashes Computer

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Blog Assignment #4

Eagle's Nest Radio & Class Blog:
I chose to listen to Episode #2: Totally Terrific Time Travel with Explorers. The podcast was very good and the kids did an excellent job. The quality was great and the presentation was clean and very easy to follow. Listening to it I also felt as if the kids had a lot of fun in the process of making the podcast. The first thing that jumped out at me was the intro music and the sound effects throughout the podcast. I really enjoyed the creative incorporations of these effects and I plan on implementing music into my podcast now as well. The second aspect of the podcast that I really enjoyed was Evan and Lizzy having their own personalized segments. Evan had a review asking questions to see if you paid attention to the show and Lizzy had a vocabulary quiz. All in all the podcast was very professional and the kids and teacher are to be commended for such an excellent job!

The Benefits of Podcasting in the Classroom: by Joe Dale
In this video reasons are presented as to why podcasting is an effective educational tool. There are clips of students actively participating in their own podcasts as well as interviews from them getting their feedback on podcasting.
I learned quite a lot from this video. First and foremost I learned that I am a Millenial, (anyone born after 1980 and has never experienced life without technology being a heavy influence.) I also learned that Podbean is a free website and source for teachers who want to implement podcasting in their classrooms. This podcast also taught me how podcasting is beneficial in relation to Bloom's Taxonomy. As a psychology enthusiast I found this very interesting. Another important point that I took from this video was how podcasting by teachers could help sick students that are unable to attend class. As a sports enthusiast as well this led me to think of the applications for high school athletes. Many high school athletes miss classes for their athletic competitions. If teachers podcast their lectures it would be easier for athletes to keep up with the material covered in class while competing. The application also applies to coaches who could use podcasts and vodcasts to teach their athletes proper form and technique as well as skills to improve their athletic performance.

Baby Bloom's Taxonommy

The Education Podcasting Network:
Under The Education Podcasting Network I decided to listen to Smoking: Differences between Men and Women located in the subject specific podcasts in Healthful Living. I choose this particular podcast to review because I am a Health Education major and the psychological reasons behind the habit of smoking have always intrigued me. In this particular podcast Dr. Karen Hartwell details a few of the psychological factors she has discovered by using MRI scanning. She explains how her research study is set up and her hypothesis on how these scans can help those who want to quit smoking to stop.

I am very pleased to have found this website. This site has given me an entirely new outlook on incorporating podcasts into the research process as well as my teaching curriculum. Using podcasts that chronicle research methodology while also presenting pertinent subject matter can be very resourceful as a teaching aid. It could "kill two birds with one stone" so to speak by allowing students to experience the scientific process behind the lesson being taught along with gaining valuable, easy to understand, and applicable information.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Project #5 Google Presentation

C4T #1

Are Pencils Making Us Narcissistic?
In this post by John T. Spencer, there is a dialogue going back and forth between Tom and Mr. Brown. They debate about kids writing to each other in pen pal networks and whether the pencil causes them to become more narcissistic. The main point of the post is to be humorous by making an analogy that the tools we use don't make us narcissistic, rather there are underlying psychological and personality factors that contribute to this trait. I agreed with this statement in my comment on his post. I believe the application of this post is to portray that the idea that using technology in education is just a tool, much like the pencil.

Capturing Reality
In this post, John and Paul debate whether is more beneficial to use a camera to capture the moment or to live in the moment and reflect upon it later. Both present valid points supporting their claim and in the end they both come to a mutual understanding of each other. The message of this post is that while different people prefer different methods of doing things, it is important to consider what is best for the context of each particular situation. I agreed that it is important to consider context and individual preferences in approaching all situations. What works for some people may not be as beneficial for others.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Blog Assignment #3

It's Not about the Technology:
In this blog post Kelly Hines discusses the importance of teachers instilling quality learning skills into their students as opposed to merely using technology as a mediation tool. She, much like Dr. Strange, advocates that all educators should be learners as well. She also emphasizes that learning and teaching are not one in the same, that technology is useless without good teaching, and that one can be a 21st century teacher without technology.

I agree with Mrs. Hines in all aspects of this particular blog post. I especially agree that all teachers should be learners and it is of vast importance to emphasize critical learning skills when educating future generations. While there will always be a base of concrete knowledge that will be expected to be taught in education curriculums, I believe the most important aspect of teaching is to get students engaged and interested in the learning process. By teaching children critical thinking, problem solving, life skills and technological skills technology can be used as an excellent medium to enhance the personal learning process. Simply throwing technology at students will do them no good if they do not have a solid foundation of skills that will enable them thrive in an academic world.

I believe we as human beings are inherently curious and eager to learn. With the internet so prevalent in today's day and age, a wealth of information is constantly at our beck and call. I believe that if we teach get children engaged in the personal learning process and teach them proper skills and how to use technology to their academic advantage that children will actually be able to teach themselves as well as teach their teachers. Simply put, we should teach our children to use technology and not just use technology to teach our children.

Baby on computer

Is It Okay To Be A Technologically Illiterate Teacher?
In this post Karl Fisch rants and raves about why he believes teachers need to have a grasp of technology. He argues that being an educator in our current world and not being technologically literate is comparable to not being able to read in the 20th century. He also argues that while it seems many people deem it acceptable to be unable to work with technology they should instead be embarrassed. He is especially adamant about this point as pertaining to educators and believes it to be disgraceful for our profession to turn a blind eye to this problem and not uphold teachers to proper technological standards.

I tend to agree with Mr. Fisch in this blog post. I believe it is very important for educators and education majors to be technologically literate. Technology can provide unlimited channels for teachers to enhance the learning process for their students. As technology continues to perpetually advance, more and more of these channels will open providing more lucrative and innovative ways for teachers to enrich the classroom learning environment. The longer a teacher puts off learning about and incorporating technology into their curriculum the harder it will be for them in the future as it continues to exponentially expand. If all educators were to succumb to this pattern, eventually the education system would fall behind and our future generations would miss out on amazing learning opportunities. Consequently we would also be doing them a vast disfavor by simultaneously leaving them with a larger gap to fill for future generations. I liken the integration of technology in education to a speeding train. The faster one jumps on board, the less they'll be behind.

Gary Hayes Social Media Count:
As I sit here and watch Gary Hayes' Social Media Count it gives me a headache. While I'm mesmerized by all of the changing numbers escalating so quickly, I can hardly stand to watch it for more than a few seconds before I feel compelled to look away, but then shortly return my attention to it. It amazes me to see how integral the internet is in the lives of everyday people with an actual live number count.

What I take from this is more of an appreciation for just how big social media has become. While I personally am not a fan of sites such as facebook or myspace, it's impossible to deny the impact that they have on society. I believe this graphic just lends more support to the argument that technology should be well integrated with education as it shows how intertwined it is in the lives of the everyday average joe.

A Vision of Students Today:
This video by Michael Wesch brings up many questions on the current construct and confines of education, especially pertaining to the college classroom. As I watched the video, surveyed the students, and read the information they had to present I could easily identify with them. Being a college student myself, many of the same thoughts and statements they shared have run through my own mind. It was interesting and quite refreshing to watch this presentation.

What I gather from this is much the same as many of my previous posts. I believe it is imperative to reexamine the construct of traditional education. While there have been improvements with the integration of technology in the classroom and having web enhanced and internet courses, I don't believe technology has been utilized to it's full extent within the educational system. The power of the internet has been on full display recently in numerous political and social activist demonstrations such as the unification of civilians in the Libyan civil war. This to me signifies the power that technology and the internet have and the impact it has on society. So my question is if technology has the power to unite citizens and overthrow a government, why does the education system hesitate to harness it for learning and teaching.

"What we should have been taught in our senior year of highschool:" Presented by The Oatmeal
What we should have learned our senior year in highschool

More "What we should have been taught in our senior year of high school" comics: Presented by The Oatmeal here:

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Blog Assignment #2

Did You Know?
In the video "Did You Know?" by Karl Fisch and Scott McLeod, numerous questions pertaining to the advancement of technology in this day and age are raised. They presented many interesting facts about the human growth rate, how students in the United States are being out performed by India and China, and the amount of intelligence we are acquiring at such an alarming rate.

Quite frankly the rate at which we are advancing technologically scares me sometimes. I will be the first one to advocate for the advancement of technology because I love science and I love having information readily available to me whenever I need or want it, however the interconnectivity of some social aspects of technology such as facebook and myspace unnerve me. While being able to communicate worldwide with anybody has its advantages, I also like my privacy. It feels to me as if we are trekking towards becoming one big global consciousness, which is all fine and dandy if that's your cup of tea, but I don't like the feeling of being forced into it. I can see how beneficial this is for large corporations, businesses, political parties and ventures of that nature, however It's almost impossible these days for the average Joe to live without being on social networking sites like facebook and twitter. This to me brings up the question of how have we changed as a human race with such readily available social technology? Do we act or even think the same as we would if we weren't so technologically infused socially? How does having access to all of our peers thoughts and emotions change the way we think and interact with them? Every so often I will receive messages via facebook, sms text, or some other form of communication from friends asking if I'm ok, if I don't like them any more, or If we're even still friends because I haven't talked to them via a social networking site in the last few weeks. My response to these people is that I'm just fine and if they really wanted to contact me why they couldn't just pick up the phone and call to schedule a hangout or just chat! This has actually infuriated me to the point of deleting my profiles on numerous social networking sites multiple times! Unfortunately the social media monster has grown so large that I keep having to sign up for these sites again for various reasons. Is it too much to ask for a little privacy without being labeled socially inept or reclusive? Are people who like their privacy and prefer actual face to face human interaction to meet and learn about people just a dying breed? I suppose we're just a changing society and the only future will tell.

Mr. Winkle Wakes:
In the video Mr. Winkle Wakes by Matthew Needleman, Mr. Winkle is an old man that awakes from a 100 year slumber. He finds himself thrust into a technological world leaps and bounds ahead of where society was pre slumber. He ventures into a business office and a hospital only to be discomforted by what he finds, a world filled with foreign machines and technology. Eventually he wanders into a school classroom to see that it however is unchanged by the hands of time which comforts him.

This video was very interesting and brought up some interesting points. My first thought after watching it was, "How would I feel if I were to hibernate for a century then wake up to see how the world has changed." At first the thought was quite funny, however upon further introspection I believe it would be quite frightening. My thoughts instantly turned into being thrust into a post apocalyptic type of world that you would find in a science fiction film such as Terminator or The Matrix, but when you think about it isn't that sort of where we are headed as technology continues to grow exponentially? Following along with this thought process its very easy to side with Mr. Winkle and be happy that technology didn't reach the classroom. The opposite thought also has to be considered however. How could technology improve education and the classroom? While I personally enjoy the traditional style lecturing and taking notes between teacher and student, I believe technology can have a profound impact on the learning of children today. Many children today are raised in a technology filled home and know how to use computers and electronics with ease. In this regard doesn't it make sense then to incorporate technology into their academic lives as well? These days so many kids use technology on a regular basis that I believe it will actually be easier to reach their minds and teach them through technology. That's not to say that a traditional lecture won't hurt them either, but I believe a combination of traditional teaching and technology could benefit both professor and student. I myself plan to use both to my advantage and try to reach my kids in the way that will best help them learn when I become a teacher. It's important to remember that different people learn different ways, so when in doubt be flexible and ready to adapt to change because with the way technology is growing there is bound to be a lot of change to come.

The Matrix Code

Sir Ken Robinson on The Importance of Creativity:
In this video Sir Ken Robinson speaks on the importance of creativity in education and how the education system needs to be restructured. He is very humorous yet frank in his views which makes the presentation very easy to watch and helps strengthen his points on creativity. He talks about the structure of education and how we educate children in the sense of trying to mold them into "university professors." He stresses that this archaic style of educating squanders creativity which is bad for children because it limits what they could do with their talents to enhance the world.

My favorite part of the presentation was when Sir Ken told the story of Gillian Lynne. He did this to make a point that by discouraging rather than encouraging the things that make kids diverse and creative that we will actually create problems for our future generations and suppress talents that children could excel in. I believe this to be 100% true and I believe we should embrace the talents that make us unique. By embracing and promoting these talents in children I believe it can actually enhance their academic success and educational experience. By promoting personal growth and learning in areas of interest to students those study skills and learning techniques could be applied to other academic disciplines. By that I mean If we teach children from an early age to teach themselves and seek learning on their own in areas that they are naturally interested in they will have the skills necessary from an early age to teach themselves in disciplines they are less naturally inclined to enjoy. There is an old saying that goes, "give a man a fish and he'll be full for a day, teach a man to fish and he'll be full for a lifetime. Teaching our children to fish in their education is better than feeding them everyday until they graduate high school only to figure out they have not learned what to do to be successful AND happy.

Can U.S. Students Compete?
In this post Cecilia Gault interviews Sir Ken Robinson on how education can change to meet the needs of the 21st century. Sir Ken Robinson address this by saying we need to make better use of technology and have more of a balance between the science and creative arts. He also addresses his three myths of creativity that are 1. Only certain people are creative, 2. Creativity is only applies to certain fields, and 3. That you must be born creative. The post also addresses how Finland has better scores in reading, science, and math while having shorter school days and a lower drop out rate than the U.S.

Sir Ken Robinson suggest that all students and teachers can benefit from traveling to increase their cultural intelligence. I believe this to be true as well as what Sir Ken said about the myths of creativity. I believe by combining cultural knowledge and individual creativity all teachers and students can further their overall knowledge by learning from one another. As technology continues to grow and improve this becomes more of a reality. As Sir Ken also emphasized, this is why there needs to be more of a union of technology and education. With this union we will all be able to learn more from one another culturally, academically, and creatively!

Harness Your Students' Digital Smarts:
In this video Vicki Davis talks about her classroom and her method of teaching, which is much like Dr. Strange's. She encourages her students to be proactive in the learning process and teach themselves. They work on projects, blogs, video podcasts, and virtual simulation fields that connect them with students from all around the world. Through technology Mrs. Davis has her rural Georgian students interacting and learning in ways that some people never would have imagined.

It was quite refreshing watching this particular video of Vicki Davis' class. I will admit that I was actually quite jealous of her students as they seemed to be having a lot of fun in their classroom. It's wonderful to see just how enthusiastic and excited they were about learning! This video is a testament to how using technology in the classroom can enhance and promote and strong, positive, and healthy learning environment. I believe the future of education is likely headed in this direction which will be a positive and much needed change.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Blog Assignment #1

If you're reading this then you are probably wondering, "Who is this devilishly suave young man by the name of Josh Hall?" Well, lucky for you I have the answer to that! I am an artist, dreamer, thinker, and jack of some (but never enough) trades. I am an enthusiast of numerous activities, but it's hard for me to say which of these activities is my "favorite," so I'll give you my top 4.

One of my favorite things to do however is draw. I love art and on any given day you will find my doodling or sketching in one of my art pads. I also enjoy painting and any kind of craft project. Although I consider myself a traditional cartoonist, I'm always looking to get better with my art and delve into new areas of it.

Another one of my major passions is athletics. I'm a fan of all sports in general, but my favorite is basketball. I have played basketball since the age of 4 and still continue to play today. Throughout my tenure on this planet I have also played or participated on baseball, tennis, track & field, and gymnastics teams. I also enjoy games and activities such as disc golf, ultimate frisbee, flag football, swimming, tetherball, and volleyball as recreational ventures.

After initiating a conversation with my you will also find out that I am very enthusiastic about music. My favorite genres of music are Jam Band, Reggae, Jazz, and Classic Rock. My favorite bands and musicians are Bob Marley, Phish, Jimi Hendrix, Medeski Martin & Wood, and Kid Cudi, but there are many, many more that I love such as Led Zepplin, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Grateful Dead, and the list goes on and on. I also enjoy making music and have been a percussionist ever since the 5th grade. I know how to play numerous types of drums and rhythm instruments, but my favorite is the classic marching snare drum.

Finally at the heart and essence of my very being is my love for psychology. I would go so far as to say it is the driving force behind all of my passions. I am fascinated by the human mind and how it works. I incessantly rummage through psychology blogs, articles, and journals or watch scientific and social documentaries during my free time. Even when I watch "traditional" entertainment shows or movies I like to put myself in the characters shoes and analyze things from different perspectives and attitudes.

Now that you've read all of that boring stuff about me let's get down to the nitty gritty. I have lived in Mobile for my entire life. Both of my parents are educators and I plan on following in their footsteps and becoming an educator myself. My mother is a special education teacher at O'rourke elementary and my father is a coach and teacher at Williamson high school. I however do not want to be an elementary or secondary educator, but a college professor. I'm am studying health education at the University of South Alabama and would like to teach drug education, nutrition, and personal health/fitness classes to college students as well as research alternative methods of health care and drug effects on the human body. I knew I was destined to be an educator at an early age because I have always been and enthusiastic learner and enjoyed teaching others what I had learned as well as getting their feedback and ideas. I believe there is rarely ever one concrete definite answer to any question and we can all learn from one another if we keep our minds open. This is the major philosophy that drives my learning and I hope to impart it into my future students in an attempt to make the world a better place.

Randy Pausch made some very good points in his video pertaining to to time management. He talked about goal setting, making to do list's, and effective ways of tackling your agenda. Overall he didn't present any information that I had not heard or thought of before, but it was still interesting and a good mental refresher. My favorite part was his analogy of eating frogs as it pertains to doing the biggest things on your to do list first. I found that to be a very valid point. The only grievance I have with his video is the fact that I believe some people can actually benefit from procrastination. I have been known to be quite the procrastinator myself and I believe that sometimes the stress and pressure from having a soon approaching deadline can actually improve one's performance in a given task if managed the correct way. For instance I have tried multiple times to write english papers well in advanced of my deadline, yet found myself unable to concentrate and focus on the task because I had so much time before it was due. I personally think that having a little bit of stress from procrastination actually enhances my creativity, therefore I often wait until the last minute to do homework assignments. That is not to say that I condone waiting until the last minute to do every single thing, but I do believe depending on who you are as a person and how you handle stress that you can use procrastination to your advantage. Having said all of that I think it's important for each individual to experiment and find the right balance of time that works for them. It's also important to realize just because you can procrastinate on one task doesn't mean you will have the same experience and outcome as procrastination on another. We are all different and some of us work differently from others. It' important to remember that not only in goal setting, but in every aspect of life.