Sunday, December 5, 2010

Final Report on PLN

My Personal Learning Network has been a great way to organize all my applications.  Through it I have been able to access everything that I use on the internet via all my bookmarks on one page.  It is a great tool in organization, and I think it will be extremely useful when I am a teacher.  The good thing about PLNs is that virtually everyone can use them.  I will be sure to recommend PLNs to anyone and everyone that needs a good and easy way to store all their information and applications.

Summary C4K #8-11

The first student that I commented on was named Colton from Ms. Cassidy's 1st grade class.  His blog post was a recording of him making a phonetic sound.  I said that he had a great reading voice and mentioned some other words with the same phonetic sounds.  The 9th child was in Miss Byrne's 7th grade class, and his name was Tristin.  He made a sort a montage of war pictures for Remembrance Day.  I told him that his pictures did a great job of evoking the emotion of the day.  The next student was from Ms. Millar's 3rd grade class.  The student made a picture and phrase to remember all the names of the planets.  I told the student that that was a great idea and that their picture was very creative.  The last student was named Yasmine from Mr. St. Pierre's class.  Yasmine's blog was a Wordle based on a book that she had been reading.  I told her that in the EDM 310 class, we had to make a Wordle as well and that hers was very creative. 

Summary C4T #4

For my Comments for Teachers #4, I was assigned to Wesley Fryer's blog, "Moving at the Speed of Creativity."  The first post that I commented on concerned Screenr and how screencasting is becoming a part of technological literacy.  I agreed with him and mentioned how we have used applications and websites like Screenr and Screenjelly in our class.  The second blog post that I commented on was about a technology workshop that Dr. Fryer was holding.  He was holding the workshop to talk about Google Tools.  I mentioned that I never knew how much one could do on Google until I started using it with EDM 310.  It is amazing to see all the things you can do.  Overall, I think that Dr. Fryer has a very interesting blog with some very useful information.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Additional Assignment #5

Mr. Spencer seems like a great teacher because he has the unique ability to see things for how they really are and to accept students for what they are.  In his first post that I read, he talked about mediums and how they can be conducive to learning.  In his post, "He Just Likes the Class for the Pencils,"  he recalled a student-teacher-parent meeting.  In the meeting, he was told that the student liked his class for certain reasons.  He stressed the importance of being strict yet accepting and allowing kids to have the freedom to learn in their own ways.  I particularly liked his post about 8th graders and how they are like pencils.  They are going through a time in their lives where they are no longer children but also, no longer adults.  We, as teachers, must be sensitive to this change.  The last post that I read concerned the use of metaphors in teaching and really, all of life.  Mr. Spencer makes the point the learning is a messy business, and sometimes, the use of metaphors can be helpful in clearing things up.  He also makes the point that metaphors have been used for many years.  Overall, Mr. Spencer has some amazing ideas, and it seems like he has really had a positive effect on all his students.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Blog Assignment #13

Alabama Learning Exchange

The Alabama Learning Exchange (ALEX) is defined as a communal database with lesson plans posted and created by teachers.  At the website, you can choose different courses of study and access web links.  You can look up lesson plans, as well.  It's definitely easy to search for things and upload podcasts for other teachers to access.  Overall, the Alabama Learning Exchange is a great way for teachers to share their ideas and to use the ones that they find.  

Some courses of study that you can access all range from English Language Arts, Science, and Mathematics, all the way to Physical Education, Technology Education, and Driver and Traffic Safety Education.  From that point, you can choose at what grade level you want to see.  You then have the opportunity to choose from however many lesson plans are offered.  They also offer podcasts to choose from that have basically all the subjects that you can choose from in the courses of study.  ALEX is a great way for teachers to share good teaching ideas with other teachers all over the world.

I think that when I become a teacher, the Alabama Learning Exchange will be a very useful tool.  It is always very interesting and helpful to communicate with other people, or teachers in this case, and trade ideas.  Teachers are all going through the same experiences, so that makes them that much more helpful to other teachers.  I hope that one day I can post some interesting ideas that other teachers might find helpful or useful in their classes.  If students find something easier and more fun to learn in a certain way, then teachers should not hesitate to share it.  

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Project #6 Summary

I did my Google Form on Student Discounts.  The first question that I asked was on a scale of 1-5 did students support student discounts.  Most everyone answered with a 5, which was not a surprise.  The second question I asked was if students received more student discounts at more places, would they be more likely to go to these places.  Most every student put yes, but some put that it depends on the place.  Thirdly, I asked the students where they would want discounts.  They answered from most popular to least popular:  Restaurants, Grocery Stores, Clothing Stores, and everything else.  Obviously, food is the most important thing to college students.  I then asked my fellow students whether they would be willing to do any fund-raising for places that they receive discounts.  Most everyone said they might, but most everyone else said that the would not be willing to do this.  Only a few said that they would.  When asked whether they think that there are enough student discount options around town, it was a unanimous decision that there were not.  I can agree with this statement.  I asked the students how much they would want to get off on their purchases and most everyone said 0-20%, but a few said over that would be preferable.  I was a little surprised by this because I expected everyone to go as high as they could.  I asked them if they thought that they deserved discounts, as students.  Most everyone said yes, but a few said no and that they might deserve it.  On a scale of 1-5, the students said that more available student discounts would positively affect their budget.  This is not a big surprise, but I was surprised to find that every student uses their own cars for transportation.  For on-campus residents, restaurants with student discounts near the campus would be even more beneficial.  Overall, I think that students would very much benefit by more available student discounts around the area.

Project #16 Final Project Progress Report

After meeting with my group, we have decided to do a project based on the use of technology in the classroom to teach students among different cultures.  We have decided to focus on some major technological tools like Skype, Wikis, and blogs.  I will be focusing on Wikis and how kids can create them to learn more about different cultures.  I might also be including a little bit on Youtube videos and how they can be beneficial.  We will all be making a video and posting them on a Glogster page.  Our videos will state how they can be used and how we, as teachers, plan on using them in the classroom. 

Blog Assignment #12


 Instructions:  We have been learning so much about technology in the classroom.  Go experience it!  Spend some time in the classroom and record all that you see about how kids are using technology and if they find it beneficial and easy to use.  Summarize.

I have spent a couple of weeks with Ms. Dixon's fourth grade class at Leinkauf Elementary and have seen several examples of technology being used in the classroom.  In the classroom is a Smartboard.  There is also access to four computers and a CD player.  Each day the Smartboard is used in various ways.  The way that I have seen that is most common is interactive reading.  Students get into groups and read a book on the screen while listening to someone narrate.  They can click on pictures to hear descriptions and turn the page by simply clicking in the corner.  Ms. Dixon leaves the students to do this on their own, so they are very capable of working the Smartboard and are eager to work it themselves.  Students listen to short stories and read from their history books with the assistance of a CD-ROM.  This makes reading easier and more fun to do.  Students are required to read a certain amount of books and take online tests on them.  They take turns on the computers and finish the tests, which have about 10 questions each.  Their scores are recorded and kept in an online grade book.  This is a usual thing, and they are very capable of passing the exams.  Overall, the students are very open and excited about any form of technology that they have access to.  I hope that one day they will have unlimited access to more of these types of tools.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Summary C4K #3-7

The first child I commented on was a child named Sateki from Australia who was summarizing a story about a man named Kupe and his long and hard journey via a video.  I commented that it must have been very difficult for Kupe and that Sateki had such a nice speaking voice.  The fourth C4K was on a 5th graders blog.  Her name was Maddy and she had just started blogging.  I told her that I liked the way her blog was designed and that I hoped she would post some more information about herself soon.  The next child was named Brendan from the 7th grade.  His last blog post concerned how people are different and have different interests.  I told him that he made a good point and that even though people might have different interests than us, we should still stay true to ourselves.  The C4K #6 child wrote about how people might love or hate her, but she will always be herself.  I wrote that I agreed with her statement and that the people that really matter are the ones that love us for who we are.  The last child's blog that I commented on was named Alba from the 6th grade.  She posted a picture that she took on a battle ship.  She asked us to help her figure out a name for it.  I said that she had an amazing gift and eye for photography and suggested she pursue it.  I also suggested the name, "Through the Eyes of a Ship."

Project #14

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Summary C4T #3

For the past couple of weeks, I have been following Arvind S. Grover's blog.  The first post I commented on was about a website that will give you graphics and charts if you type in the information you want charted.  It's a great way to see how information looks in a diagram.  I thought that it would be a great teaching tool and a helpful website for students to use for study.  The second post that I commented on was a link to a Youtube video of a Sesame Street song.  The video featured the puppets singing a song about a pogo stick that worked like an Iphone.  They sang about the pogo stick having an app for anything and everything.  It showed how different times are and how technologically savvy the children of today are.  I commented that it is just a reminder that we must implement technology into their education because the use of technology is saturating everything around us.  

Blog Assignment #11

Kids Using Computers in the Classroom

Ms. Cassidy's Classroom

After watching the video of Ms. Cassidy's class and the Skype interview with her, I have several things to say.  I was very impressed with the students in the video and how capable they have become with different forms of technology.  Another thing that really pleased me was that they seemed very excited about their final products and eager to do more.  Ms. Cassidy does a great job of using technology in the classroom through tools like computers, Nitendo DS's, flip cameras, blogs, Wikes, and Skype.  She teaches kids how to use these tools to further their education and to have fun while doing it.  I definitely want to teach my kids to be able to use a computer to navigate the internet for information.  I also like the idea of creating Wikes to find out information and to learn about what people think about certain things, and I love the idea of Skyping with experts and letting the kids ask their own questions.  I think it will be difficult to teach younger children because Elementary Education is what I intend to teach.  Some tools can be difficult and confusing to navigate, but I think learning at a young age is the best way to start.  It might also be difficult to teach children that might have learning disabilities.  After learning how to use these things, I'm sure that the students will be more prepared to further their knowledge of technology.  It also prepares them for a world that is constantly changing and becoming more technologically literate.  

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Additional Assignment #3

I think that Mr. Ken Robinson said many important things, but I really think what he said about divergent thinking was one of the most important.  We are educating our students to think more and more in a conformed and confined way.  This is wrong.  I didn't really disagree with anything in the presentation.  I thought he made some great points.  I think we are still being taught to teach kids so that they might benefit the economy.  We are instilling in them a knowledge of technology and preparing them for jobs that aren't created yet but will need to be filled.  However, the education classes I have taken have told me to get children to really think and expand their opinions and knowledge of information.  As a teacher, I can encourage my kids to work together and to learn how to solve problems on their own.  I can teach them to imagine, create, and use their minds to their full potential.  Overall, I really enjoyed the presentation and the message that was sent.  If I were told to do a presentation like this, I would love to be the narrator, the author, or the designer.

Blog Assignment #10

To All Educators

I agree with most everything that Morgan has to say about education.  Education has become monotonous and monotone.  Students are told to go home, read a chapter, and maybe answer questions on it.  They return to class and usually have to sit through a boring lecture in which the instructor repeats almost everything they have already read in the book.  They take a test on the material and move on.  Do you think that these students will truly remember what they "learned?"  I would say that there isn't a chance.

Students need to apply what they are learning to their life.  That is the best way to learn.  They need to get into the material with other students and discuss, argue, and debate over it.  Students need to have a voice, and they need to be able to voice their opinions.  We, as teachers, are in charge of facilitating these types of discussions.  Kids are much more bound to get excited about something they can speak and share about.  This is what a classroom setting should look like.

Technology can be a very useful type of tool in this kind of learning.  Kids are much more likely to use tools from PLNs like Twitter, Facebook, Blogger, etc... to work together.  I have said it before, and I will say it again.  Technology is the best way to get kids excited and interested in learning.  It's time to teach kids to learn actively, not passively.  What better way to get them involved than using the gadgets they know and love?

What is Your Sentence?

This video really made me think about my career and more importantly, my life.  What do I want people to remember me as?  In my life, I strive to help others and show them love and encouragement.  I want this to be a part of my career as a teacher because I think this mindset can lead to some great things.  If I truly work to do this, then everything else will fall into place.  Through love, kindness, and patience, I hope to teach every child that they can learn and that they can love learning.

My sentence (for now) will be:  "She listened so that they might listen, she encouraged so that they might encourage, she helped so that they might help, and she loved so that they might love."


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Skype Interview Recorded Project #12

Blog Assignment #9

Teacher's Desk

Teacher's First Lessons

In Mr. McClung's blog post, he tells about his first year of teaching and what he learned from it.  He admits that he made some mistakes, but he also learned a great deal about teaching from them.  He mentions in his blog that it is important to keep the focus on the student always because they are the reason we are there.  I hope that this will always be my focus.  He also mentions how important it is to be open-minded and to communicate with other teachers.  When a lesson that we might have planned differently goes wrong, we are quick to react negatively.  We should learn to roll with the punches.  Mr. McClung mentions the point of making sure our expectations for students are not too high.  It's important that we push the kids to do their best as long as we accept whatever their best may be.  He says that we should embrace technology and always listen to our students.  In this class, I am especially learning how important and useful technology can be.  Finally, he charges us as teachers to never stop learning.  I strongly agree with this.  How can we inspire others to learn if we are not inspired to learn?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Project #9b

Project #11

Blog Assignment #8

Kids Using a Smartboard
This Is Becoming How We Dream

After watching Richard Miller's, "This Is How We Dream Part 1 and 2,"  I have several things to say.  I think he did a good job getting his point across about how we are changing technologically.  He made the point that times are changing and so should how we teach.  We need to be encouraging students to use technology, more specifically computers, to accomplish whatever they need to accomplish.  There are so many benefits to using computers.  They give you the ability to create with tools you might not have had before.  With increasing technology, the possibilities are literally endless.

As a teacher that will undoubtedly use technology to teach her students, I am prepared to write with multimedia.  I will make sure to learn all the necessary things that I need to learn in order to teach my students how to use the tools they need to to accomplish whatever task is on their plate.  It is my responsibility to do so.  In today's time, not giving them these tools is depriving them of a fair chance at an education and ultimately at a job opportunity.  Who am I to decide their future for them?

If I, as a teacher and mentor, am successful in teaching my kids how to use the technology they are required to learn, then they will be able to write with multimedia.  They will be successful in researching, creating, and even publishing their work.  So, in other words, if I am successful in teaching them how to write with multimedia, they will be successful in doing so.  This video was just another example of how big an impact technology is making on the education of our children.  It also shows how important a role I have as a teacher in teaching them how to use it.


I really enjoyed watching the videos for EDM 310.  I think that instructional videos are very helpful and can be really fun to make.  As a budding teacher, I am very interested in making videos that are informative and using technology to get my point across.  I also think it would be cool to have a video podcast diary.  It could be a great way to keep track of my first year of teaching.  That way, I can go back and try new things when I review the mistakes that I made in the past.  Videos are a great way to inform in a fun way.

Benefits of Smartboards  

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Additional Assignment #2

1.  I thought that this video was very interesting and showed how intelligent kids can be.  I also thought it had a lot to say about working together as a team.  I think if anyone is motivated enough, they can teach themselves because they have the drive to do it.
2.  I think that kids might have the advantage in this arena.  They possess a natural curiosity, so they are more likely to teach themselves if motivated. 
3.  I think kids are more likely to teach themselves if they are in a group setting.  They know they must work together to solve the problem, and natural leaders and teachers will rise.  Kids must also be given adequate tools to learn with.  I also think that in anyone's case, they are more likely to teach themselves something that interests them or something that they can be rewarded for learning.
4.  Computers and internet access give children or anyone, for that matter, the freedom to explore what they are trying to learn.  In a way, it gives them infinite possibilities.  It makes things easier to find and research.
5.  Motivation makes the learning process rewarding.  
6.  Sometimes it makes the search easier when you have something you are trying to solve or answer.  You have a goal you are trying to reach instead of trying to find something blindly.
7.  You tell them all the good that it can do for them along the way and at the end.  
8.  I am motivated to learn by knowing that I will be the one motivating others to learn.
9.  I think it is harder to teach someone who is not motivated to learn.  I think teaching them will be a matter of motivating them.
10.  Yes.  I usually teach myself when others don't teach me, and I am forced to.  I also teach myself when I am very eager to learn how to do something for myself.  Sometimes I have to teach myself to achieve my desired outcome.
11.  They are the motivators.  They are the encouragement and sometimes inspiration.  They are the tour guides and sidekicks.  They are there to help you help yourself.
12.  After watching this video, I fell in love with the curiosity and desire of the children to learn.  They had the motivation to learn anything and everything, and I want to instill in my students that same desire.
13.  I think teachers should consider allowing students to work on their own in group settings more often.  I think the video showed how this can be more fun for students and make the learning process much more desirable.  Computers and the internet can be vital tools in this setting.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

1st Progress Report on PLN Project Report #10

I am learning more and more how helpful it is to have a PLN!  It is a great way to organize everything you need to for anything from your schoolwork to your personal life.  Right now, I have a PLN with Symbaloo.  I only have a small number of links at the moment, but I plan on growing my PLN with time.  Some of the links that I have are Facebook, Gmail, Pandora, Youtube, the Encyclopedia, the weather, Flickr, Twitter, and many more interesting applications and resources.  I can't wait to see how my PLN grows and how it affects my education.  Hopefully, I will learn enough to teach my students how to create and effectively use their own.

Project #9a

Summary C4T #2

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been following Michael Kaechele's teaching blog.  In the first post I read, he mentioned the idea of online reading instead of just reading from books.  He allows his students to read for a certain amount of time online, if they wish.  I commented that this is a good way to get kids searching for information on the internet.  It can be a helpful resource for educational information as well as for entertainment.  The second post I read was about an online lottery source that he found.  He thought it would be useful in teaching probability.  I agreed with him.  I think it is another way to get kids online and actively involved in the learning process.  Overall, I have enjoyed reading his blog and am sorry that I didn't get to have him as my teacher!

Blog Assignment #7

Brick Wall

Teaching Kids to Follow Their Dreams

After watching the last lecture of Randy Pausch, I have learned many things.  I respect him very much for some of the principles that he has learned as an educator.  The lecture centered around achieving childhood dreams.  In his lecture, Pausch taught us that it is never impossible to achieve a childhood dream or at least get close to it.  By achieving his own, he learned how to inspire his students to go after their own personal childhood dreams.  

Randy Pausch had many inspiring figures and leaders to guide him along the way.  Without some of those helpful words, he would not have gotten as far as he did.  This goes to show how influential you can be to someone you are mentoring.  It should inspire us a teachers to always be encouraging, always be ready to help with a happy attitude, and just be there whenever a student needs a helping hand or a kind word.  I also learned from Pausch's teaching experience with his CMU students that we should always push our kids harder.  That is how they grow.  We must accept their best, and then, we should ask them for even more. 

In his lecture, Pausch continuously brought up the idea of the brick wall.  How much we want something is determined by how we struggle over it.  This concept of perseverance, desire, and endurance should be instilled in our students by us early on in their endeavors in education.  If they learn that sometimes hard work is required to achieve something we want most, they will be all the more willing to do the work necessary, rather than to be lazy.  Over the course of their education, the students will encounter brick walls in their learning.  They must get in the habit of climbing over them if they want to achieve their dreams.

I have also learned the importance of having goals in Randy Pausch's last lecture.  As teachers, we need to inspire our kids to dream big.  Instead of teaching them at their ability, we should teach them beyond.  By saying this, I mean that we should instill in them the idea that it is possible to accomplish something that may seem out of my reach.  It is possible for me to climb that tallest and most sturdy brick wall.  I should have enough confidence in my ability to know that I am capable.  Imagine how different the world would be if every child was taught this way.  

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Summary C4K #1 and 2

During the last couple of weeks, I have been commenting on a young girl's blog concerning some of her posts.  One of her posts was her "Manifesto."  On this she made several goals for herself and what she planned on achieving during the school year.  She mentioned how she would make sure she got enough sleep and ate a good breakfast.  I told her that it was a great idea to make a list of goals and that I thought she had many good ones.  I agreed with her in the importance of a good night's rest and a full tummy so that she wouldn't be distracted.  She also gave a short biography about her life.  She mentioned that she played volleyball, and I told her that I did when I was younger as well.  I then gave a short summary of my life in response to hers.  Overall, I think that she is doing well in keeping up with her blog.

Blog Assignment #6

Youtube Logo
The Networked Teacher

After watching the video, "The Networked Student" by Wendy Drexler, I have a few things to say.  The video gives an example of a student who is taking an online class.  The student is directed by the teacher to use many web tools and various applications for the advancement of his learning experience in the virtual classroom.  He creates a PLN to keep track of all that he does.  He uses applications like Google Scholar, Skype, and even his MP3 player to learn more.  However, the video does raise the question of whether a teacher is needed or not.

I think a teacher is very much needed.  A teacher of a virtual class like this is needed to be a sort of tour guide for the student.  He/she needs to be there to introduce the student to new ways of finding information, give direction on how to go about finding it, and answer any questions that might arise during the student's endeavor.  The teacher must be technologically savvy.  They also must be actively involved in the student's blog and any other record of findings the student might have created.

Having been in this class for almost half a semester, I am realizing how important technology is for a teacher.  I am learning that just because a teacher might be a part of an online classroom doesn't mean they are not involved in the learning process.  In a way, they are furthering the learning process more than other teachers.  They are teaching the student the subject as well as teaching them to use technology in new and creative ways throughout their educations.  Teachers at the head of online classes are very much involved with their students.

Using a PLE

I was very impressed with the 7th graders personal learning environment.  It seems that using technology to organize and assist in the learning process has had a positive effect on her as a student.  It gives the students a chance to have more freedom and deal with the responsibility that comes with that.  I love the fact that the student's PLE allows them to organize and keep track everything that they have read or used in each class.  This gives the student the ability to easily access any information they need to.  The only thing that I would say is for the student to be cautious with mixing his/her personal life with their school life.  It is very easy to get distracted!

Amusing Ourselves For the Better or Worse?

I really enjoyed Michael Wesch's video about Youtube and authenticity.  Technology is transforming the way we think, act, and the way we talk.  I know that it has been the subject of many of my friends and my conversation.  Throughout my education, technology has come increasingly into the forefront.  This class has especially opened my eyes to how much the world is being changed by technology and how it is breeding a new human being.  I think, as a teacher, technology should not be allowed to dominate.  It should be used as a tool to help facilitate conversation, to be a source of knowledge and information, and to make accessing that information easier.  It should be about the knowledge obtained, not how we get to it.  



Saturday, September 25, 2010

Blog Assignment #5

Apple Logo

Podcasts in the Classroom
After listening to the Eagle Nest Radio and reading the class blog, I have a few things to say.  First of all, I think it is a great idea to create a podcast in the classroom for your students.  I think it is a great way to get them involved in the learning process.  It can also be a great resource for studying, and the students will want to hear themselves and will learn while listening.  I love the way they made it sound like a radio show.  It makes listening and learning more fun.  The way they used sound effects and music to contribute made it sound more professional, as well.  I plan on doing an audio podcast for my project, and this gave me some great ideas. 

Some Benefits of Classroom Podcasts

In Joe Dale's video, he brings up many of the benefits of teachers and students using podcasts or "vodcasts" in the classroom.  He mentions that teachers can podcast lectures and information for students that have to miss school for whatever reason.  This is a great way to keep the student informed and caught up.  He also brings up the idea that students could create their own podcasts.  This is a great way to get kids involved, to get them working together, and to get them to learn the material in an exciting new way.  Dale also brings up the point that creating a podcast is a part of higher learning.  It makes children use the knowledge they have in a way that makes them have to extract it.  It really makes them think.  Also, with podcasts, parents can easily track what their children are doing at school.  It keeps them actively involved.  Podcasts are a great addition to classroom learning.

Getting Started 

Judy Scharf's article about podcasting is very helpful in many ways.  While working on my own podcast, I thought a lot of the tips she had were useful.  She also mentioned several ways to use them in the classroom.  She tells the reader to be sure that they give their students plenty of time to complete the projects.  In her article, Scharf also gives a list of topics that kids can use.  I love this list!  It's got so many fun and educational topics that I'm sure kids would love to choose from.  Overall, podcasts are a great way to get kids involved, interested, and active in their education.  Children will be proud of their finished products and will have fun in the process.    

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Blog Assignment #4

To Teach, Or Not to Teach 

Scott McLeod is an Associate Professor at Iowa State University and the director of the UCEA Center for the Advanced Study Of Technology Leadership in Education (CASTLE).  He was also a co-creator in the video we blogged about, "Did You Know?"  In his post, Dr. McLeod speaks about letting our kids use and learn about technology.  He brought up some very negative aspects of technology and one really great aspect of it.  This is the ability to get a job over others that don't know how to use technology.  

I have to say that he brings up an important issue.  How do we teach our kids about the tools they will have to know how to use to be successful when so much of it is garbage?  It's very difficult trying to use the Internet without something controversial popping up in the background.  Also, do we let our kids have a Facebook, Twitter, or Myspace when we know they will be distracted with it?  I think what we have to do is to educate our kids but teach them the right way to use technology.  Like anything else in this world, technology is corrupted.  We teach them morals that, hopefully, roll over into increasing technology.

Is an iSchool Plausible?

A high school senior came up with the idea and/or plan for every student to have an iPhone and to get their education through it.  This eliminates the need for things such as books, calculators, bookbags, etc...  He makes the point that it will bring down the cost of education significantly as well as give students the opportunity to learn in a more modern way.  A cheaper and more efficient way of schooling, what can be wrong with this?

I see the logic in a lot of his points and think much of it is brilliant.  I would not be surprised to see this happening one day.  However, there are aspects of school that can't really be taught over an iPhone.  What about socialization?  This method of educating is impersonal and takes away from the things that can be learned in the classroom setting.  Group exercises are harder to make happen, and accountability might be difficult.  This iSchool might create lazier children, and what happens when they lose their phone or break it?  I think it might be a little too soon for this idea, but I think it has potential.

The Lost Generation

This video was very interesting.  It started off very negative and hopeless and turned itself around, becoming very positive and hopeful.  I loved the way that it was done.  It was refreshing and quite surprising.  It confused me until I realized the approach that was being taken.  It reminded me of some very important things, as well.  We have to remember that money, a nice job, and material things cannot give us happiness.  They are only temporary.  We must value our family and our relationships, for they cannot be replaced.

Virtual Choirs

I am a huge fan of Eric Whitacre and have sung some of his work.  I really liked this use of technology.  As a singer in many choirs, I have some fond memories of meeting people from all over the country.  We form special relationships because we have a love for music and vocal performance in common.  I think this use of virtual choirs is an awesome way to bring people together from all over the world to create something beautiful and magical.  This is one way that technology is really changing the way we do things, and I like it.  I hope that other musicians will get the idea and it will spread over the musical world.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Additional Assignment #1

Pitcairn Islands map
Search Engines

Google Squared has the ability to provide students with information in a unique and helpful format.  It presents students with a table and gives them the information that they asked for and even more. This extra, well-organized information would help them if they were doing something like a research project.  Wolfram Alpha provides kids with more than enough information.  It gives you as much information as you ask for and then goes into detail.  It answers questions you probably didn't think to ask and makes tables and charts regarding that information.  Students can use this as a valuable source for facts and even copy and paste charts onto research projects.  

Before this assignment, I had never heard of Google Squared.  However, I had heard of Wolfram Alpha before.  I used it when I was in a math class to help me with my math homework.

After watching Dr. Strange's video, my thoughts on the "Did You Know?" video have changed.  Information can be thrown at one in many different ways.  Sometimes the way we perceive data is not actually the truth.  After hearing that English is spoken more than we thought in many other countries, we immediately find this unbelievable, but we are not thinking about population sizes.  Once we find out that extra information, it makes sense to us.  Statistics can be misleading.  I have learned, from this exercise, to think about outliers and unstated information when I hear statistics.  I have also learned that research using websites like Google Squared and Wolfram Alpha can help in the search for valuable and informative facts.

It says something really amazing about Steve Jobs that he can create a seemingly complicated computer and have a kid learn how to use it within seconds, but I think it says even more about the complexity of the human brain.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Summary C4T #1

mayorcarvalho.pngAugmented Reality App
David Hopkins recently wrote a blog about an augmented reality app for the Iphone that can let the viewer browse historical pictures of various locations.  The viewer can see what happened in other times in their current location.  I think this is an innovative and interesting way to learn about a city's history.  It can be great for students and projects, and the avid historian will be sure to to enjoy it.  Getting students outside walking and taking pictures is a fun and unique way for them to learn what happened in a city's history and how it differs from the present day.

Twitter in the Classroom

I also read a post from David Hopkins about the use of Twitter in classroom as a way to get students involved and to educate them.  Nowadays, technology in the classroom is becoming more and more frequent, and teachers are now encouraging their students to use as much of it as they can.  They are preparing students for job scenarios where they will surely have to use what they know about technology.  Social-networking sites are becoming more education friendly for many reasons.  Students can follow and discuss with each other a school topic.  This way students are more inclined to be interested and involved in the school assignments and activities.  

Blog Assignment #3

School Supplies

A Vision Nobody Seems to Notice

In reaction to Michael Wesch's video, I have a few things to say.  First of all, I think that it was very unique and innovative how he used the walls, seats, chalkboards, and student notebooks to do the talking.  It reminds the viewer that we are talking about what a student has to do every day.  As to the statistics, they seem pretty accurate to the everyday student.  Students have to fit, on average, a 26 hour day into a 24 hour day, and this is just the average student.  

If I were to add anything into the video, I might go more into the financial demands of the average student.  I might also bring up the diversity of the classroom and mention how some students are facing language barriers and others have kids at home they need to take care of.  This could also lead to talking about the amount of work demanded from the teacher.  Some teachers assign ridiculous amounts of homework without taking into account the other demands on the students' schedules.  Overall, this vision is eye-opening and deserves to be noted.

What It's Really About
Having just read Kelly Hines' article, "It's Not About the Technology," I have a few things to say.  I think that she is making a valid point.  Sometimes, people think that technology should get all the credit, or they become blind to what goes on behind the scenes.  What really matters is the teaching behind the technology.  A good teacher can take technology and use it to it's full potential.  Without proper teaching, technology goes wasted.

She makes the point that teachers should always be learning.  They should teach but work and study like students.  Also, every kid deserves and has the ability to learn.  So, no teacher should stop working with each individual student until they do.  Another point she brings up is that technology doesn't make the teacher.  It is the teacher that can make the technology.  He or she is in charge of manipulating it.  Critical thinking and problem solving are vital to the learning experience and should not be forgotten in the hype of modern technological advances, as well.  It is the teacher's job to make technology useful to their students.

Modern Day Illiteracy

Today, technological literacy is becoming more and more important in education.  According to Karl Fisch, it is unacceptable to be a teacher that is technologically illiterate, in this day and age.  He makes a great point.  Technology is constantly expanding, and teachers need to know how to use those tools to prepare their students for jobs where they need to know how to use them.  Without a knowledge of these tools, how can we possibly hope to use them and teach them to others?

These days, students are using more and more technology in their lives.  They are a different breed.  For example, social networking has become a new and leading form of communication for young adults.  As teachers, we have to know how to communicate and inform in a way that kids can understand and use.  Technology isn't going anywhere anytime soon, so we need to be prepared to roll with the increasing technological punches. 


Presentation Project

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Project #2

A wordle based on a short paragraph about Kathryn Buchanan

Blog Assignment #2

Harnessing Students Together

Vicki Davis and her video, "Harness Your Students' Digital Smarts," is very interesting.  Here, Ms. Davis tries to implement every form of technology into her curriculum.  This forces the young adults to learn how to learn in different and innovative ways.  Students work together to discover how to do new things and to do group projects.  They also get to connect with other students across the globe.

I have no problem with the use of computers in the classroom, as long as the curriculum is covered.  I just hope that students are reaching their full potential over the web if not on paper and through textbooks.  The thing I love the most about Ms. Davis's teaching technique  is that the students get the chance to work with kids their own age from all over the planet on something they have in common.  I think this could be an amazing experience for any student, and it is exciting to imagine how much more they could learn from each other.  This type of digital classroom has potential.

Making Room for Creativity

Sir Ken Robinson makes some really great points in his speech, "The Importance of Creativity."  He speaks of how important it is to incorporate the arts in education.  He also brings up the issue of being educated in a certain direction.  He says that kids are being educated in math, english, science, and history, but to what ends?  Are we educating our children to do what the world says they should do, or are we allowing them to use the gifts they are given to do what they want?  Who's to say they won't be successful?

I agree with Sir Robinson.  Children should be given equal opportunities in the classroom.  Some kids enjoy learning about history, while others can think best on the stage.  What makes one thing more important than the other?  Children should have more options as to what they pursue in their life.  You might say, "Well, don't they have those options?"  I raise the question.  Do they really?  If we are training and teaching our kids to be a certain type of person, than we are taking away those choices.  We aren't only taking away their creativity.  We are taking away their ability to be. 

Mr. Winkle's Nightmare

After watching the Youtube video Mr. Winkle Wakes, some interesting ideas were brought into my mind.  I think the video was raising the question of whether increasing technology is  a good thing or a bad thing.  It is especially pertinent in the field of education because we are dealing with children not job-seeking adults.  Is technology in schools beneficial or unnecessary in the classroom?  Here's what I think.

In my opinion, technology is very important for kids to know how to use, especially if they are pursuing a career that uses computers regularly.  In this day and age, it's hard to think of a career that doesn't.  However, I think that students should be required to take a class or classes specific to learning how to use a computer.  I don't think this class should overlap other subjects.  Computers can be distracting and ultimately irrelevant.  A computer cannot teach like a teacher can.  Call me old-fashioned, but computers can make the school experience cold and impersonal.  Every kid needs a knowledge of computer technology, but every kid also needs to know how to study and learn without relying on a computer.

Does Anyone Really Know?

In response to the Youtube video "Did You Know? 3.0," I have several things to say.  I found it extremely interesting and equally alarming at times.  It has a lot to say about humanity in general and the growth of technology all over the globe.  The video had a shocking effect on me, and I learned some statistics and facts that I had never heard before.  Overall, I liked it for several reasons, and I was discouraged for different reasons.

First of all, it does make the often disregarded point that our country, the United States, is not as "high and mighty" as it's reputation communicates.  The truth is that other countries are growing rapidly, and ours is falling deeper and deeper into debt.  Countries like Japan, China, and India are educating differently, and the intelligence of their children shows it.  They are incorporating the English language and creating new technologies.  On the other hand, one thing I disliked about the video was when it compared the human brain and race to increasing computer technology.  Believe me.  I am all about technology, but I find the idea of a computer being greater than the human race hard to grasp.  Honestly, I find it offensive.  Computers may be able to get you information, store records, and entertain you, but they are highly impersonal.  Do computers have emotion or feelings?  Do they have beliefs or original ideas?  Can you have a relationship with your computer?  Does it keep you warm at night?  

By saying all this, I am only making the point that you cannot create something that is beyond our understanding.  You can't replace a race with RAM.  You can't replace a human with a hard-drive.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Blog Assignment #1

Hi, everyone.  My name is Kathryn Buchanan, and I was born and raised in Mobile, AL.  I am now a junior at the University of South Alabama and am an elementary education major.  I am just starting out with my education classes.  I used to attend Auburn University but transferred here in the spring of 2009.   My personal interests include singing, reading, watching movies, and hanging out with my friends and family.  I am involved in the Chorale and new Show Choir at South Alabama and hope to become a vocal performance minor in the upcoming Spring semester.

My father owns a lumber company called Buchanan Lumber of Mobile that is located in downtown Mobile.  My mother is a stay at home mom, and my brother, Dickson, just recently graduated with a business degree from Birmingham-Southern College.  I am most passionate about singing.  I have been doing it my whole life and love it more than anything.  I plan to try to incorporate it into my classroom.  I want to enter the field of education because I believe it is hugely important, and I have a strong desire to help others in the learning process.  I'm so excited to be able to continue to get to know you all!