Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Blog Post #15 (Reflection)

Final Project (#16)

For this project, Woodie Holloway and I created facebook pages of historic figures relating to our current educational choices. I am an English Education major, so my facebook page was on Mark Twain, the author famous for his novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and because Woodie has a minor in music, his facebook page was on George Howard, a professional jazz musician who began his career in the late 1970's.
I think that an idea for a facebook page being incorporated into teaching would be very fundamental. Think of this scenario: I, after graduation, begin teaching literature at a high school. One of the weeks I am there, the class and I discuss a famous literary author, for example, Mark Twain. Assigning the students to create a facebook page about this particular literary figure is a wonderful idea because (1) it was very fun creating the facebook page on Mark Twain, (2) while doing research I learned many things about Mark Twain I had not known prior, and (3) facebook is a great tool that young students can easily relate to. They wouldn't really see it as "work," but rather a creative way to learn about a historic literary figure.
The only con to this project was that it was time-consuming, but because it doesn't even feel like work the time flew by relatively quickly. Also, a LOT of research is required to make these pages look legitimate... but the reward of learning so much about the historic figure is well worth it.

Click the links below to visit Mark Twain's and George Howard's facebook pages.

Because Mark Twain was simply his pen name, the facebook account is under his real name:
Samuel Langhorne Clemens

George Howard

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Final Report on PLN

The thing about a Personal Learning Narrative is it constantly changes. Just like you can't say "Alright, my mind has reached it's full capacity," you can say the same for a PLN. It simply doesn't work that way. The mind never stops learning, the internet keep expanding, PLNs continually grow. Midway through the semester we were asked in EDM310 to create a PLN. Now, the thing about it, which can be good or bad depending on your view of things, is that there are no rigid rules when it comes to creating a PLN. That is both the beauty and the curse, but once one gets over the question "what on earth am I going to do with this?" they can come to the comforting solution of "well, just about anything."
Truth be told I wasn't very comfortable when first using the Symbaloo website. It was complicated to navigate and had seemingly endless options. But that's what made it so great. I'm still getting used to it, but my homepage, which has features like facebook, youtube, gmail, twitter and apple, makes it relatively easy to get from one place to another while saving as much time as possible. If you have a youtube account or any of the other accounts mentioned above, which we are required to have in EDM310, all one needs to do sign into those accounts by clicking on the little link boxes, and it makes for much easier navigation. I'm still getting used to it, still finding new things, and am still getting confused... which, I think, is a good thing after learning what Dr. Strange has taught us, and I quote "I don't know. Let's find out." Those words ring amicably. My PLN will change, transform, morph... whatever word you want to use. And I believe, as the semester comes to a close as well as EDM310, that learning never ceases to change, our minds never cease to expand. If that weren't true, I wouldn't be writing this, and you wouldn't be reading this.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Tom Johnson Special Assignment

Don't Let Them Take Pencils Home

Wow. I started laughing at the beginning when I caught on to the metaphor, slightly because it's funny and slightly because it's really obvious. For reasons unknown I didn't even read this part (yes, honesty is the best policy), and that's dissapointing, because I missed out. However, reading this post I find it hard to believe that students missed the metaphor about pencils being computers instead. It's... blatant. It's satire, literature's punch line. It speaks of parents making a big deal that their children are coming home with 'pencils' (a direct corolation with parents' reactions to their child using the internet), and it also speaks of how people fear that students will use 'pencils' as only a form of entertainment (again, computers are applicable here).

Some of the metaphors that come to mind that I've encountered recently was this past Sunday, Easter Sunday to be in fact, after my family and I witnessed my cousin getting injured by a wooden board, which had unfortunately came loose after holding up a swing in which he was sitting. After a bit of blood (don't worry; head injuries bleed a lot regardless) and a trip to the hospital, my cousin was fine with simply a few stitches and a headache, for which he was administered pain relievers. Now, the metaphor in this was the following day when my mother said "he's fine; his head's just killing him." The metaphor is the phrase 'killing him.' The very next day, in fact, he went on to play a game of baseball. Had his head been literally 'killing him,' he definitely wouldn't be playing baseball the following day.

We as educators, in order to help students learn metaphors, need to instruct them to not take things too seriously. Dr. Strange pointed this out, how he thinks some students may have missed the metaphor because they were being too serious, which I see often in our world. There's a lot of defiance I believe that goes along with this. Some people just think that, if someone means to say soomething, why not just say it? The answer, I believe, is because metaphors are meant to challenge us. They challenge us to read between the lines and not just take things for face-value. It calls for a better understanding and appreciation of things.

C4T #4

A Virtual Professor

In this blog post, Mr. Bill Genereux expressed his concern about learning being entirely technological, without physical bodies congregating together to learn. He asked the following question: “Could you be enticed to work remotely while sacrificing physicality of the workplace?” to which I answered "no" in my response, the reason being because of the visible passion that can be put into a work of study and the 'spark' one can see when another has generated an idea, which simply can't be duplicated with computers, in my oppinion anyway.


Mr. Genereux's post, "My KYHOI," or "Knock Your Head Off Idea," was about his fascination for "Mediated Literacies in Education," or put simply, the ways in which technology is being used for the good of writing for education. In my comment I wrote about how I, as an aspiring writer but with no professional work completed, one of the ways in which I can "put my work out there" is technological devices such as blogging and twitter. Having followers or subscribers or whatever they may be as fans could aid my work in gaining any popularity, and maybe... a work could be published thanks to technology.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

C4K #9 and 10

C4K #9 Mrs. Yollis' Class

For this assignment, after navigating Mrs. Yollis' blog, I was thoroughly convinced that Mrs. Yollis, along with her students, had mastered the recently established art of blogging, and for many more reasons than one. Firsthand I witnessed all of their wonderful tutorials, including but definitely not limited to instructions on how to write a proper comment, and also on how to compliment people with uplifting comments on their post. In my comment for Mrs. Yollis' class blog I wrote of how I enjoyed tremendously the aspect of family blogging, and explained in my post how, with my big family of 8, the idea of blogging together would be ideal for keeping in touch during our busy schedules and lives.

C4K #10 Jaden's Awesome Blog

Jaden's blog post was an entry from her Blog Mascot, Mr. California, who is a chipmunk. I was informed by "Mr. CA" that his hobbies were playing sports like hockey and tennis, as well as drawing, reading and blogging. A picture of Mr. CA was below the post; he was holding a little basketball, another sport which he is fond of.
I commented on how the idea for a Blog Mascot is ingenuitive. I had been out for a jog and ran into a stray dog who was very friendly, and had I a Blog Mascot option, I would choose him! I also thanked Jaden, her other classmates and Mrs. Yollis for their thoughtful comments they left the EDM310 students.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Blog Post #13

ALEX, an acronym for Alabama Learning Exchange, is a relatively new project, which is essentially an index for different learning resources. It is a very inteactive website, with links to a vast variety of learning tools. For example, the Home Page has 8 different boxes, each labeled things like "Courses of Study," "Lesson Plans," etc. These links take you to many resources, for example "Courses of Study" takes you to a page with a dozen boxes labeled everything from "Mathematics" to "Arts Education," and each box takes you to that particular subject, with forms of study for that particular subject available to Kindergarten all the way through 12th grade. ALEX is an excellent tool for those teachers who are looking for a variety of ideas that they can incorporate into the classroom, and the Website is still expanding.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Progress Report on Final Project

Yes! At first the idea of completely inventing my own project without 'directions' from Dr. Strange seemed so daunting... And yet, Project #14 (Teach Someone Something) went surprisingly well; I thoroughly enjoyed doing what I wanted to do, rather than what someone else instructs me to do. While this kind of project can end poorly -because of poor planning on the individual's part-, it can also be tremendously good work, because there are no tethers or limitations on what you can do.

I know I don't have much so far... but I want to create a project in which I can involve technology into my future classroom setting. I am an english major, and because this project is collaborative I'd like to find any other english majors in EDM310 who are willing to work with me. I think some kind of video, Smartboard Presentation or something similar would be excellent, particularly one in which I and my fellow classmates incorporate a sort of 'mock lesson' for a group of 'students', so as to better prepare ourselves for our future teaching careers. Any english majors who read this, please think about collaborating with me! I think it would be great.

More to come later,

Monday, April 11, 2011

Blog Post #12


Watch this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_A-ZVCjfWf8&feature=related 4:09

In this video the students say "teach me to think." In a post, explain how you would respond to this plea as a teacher. Why do you think there are statistics such as "76% of my teachers have never used Wikis, blogs or podcasts" and "At least once a week 14% of my teachers let me create something new with technology"?


According to this video as well as others we have watched in EDM310, students, at a very young age, are getting acclimated to the increasing advance in technology, while seemingly teachers, who should be adept enough with technological media to be ahead of the students so as to direct them accordingly, are actually behind! Stories are heard often about how children are baffling their own parents in their technological literacy -which under certain circumstances is acceptable. But for teachers to be less adept than their students... Has someone decided to take drastic action with this? One can hope. What I can do as a teacher is take advantage of the skills that classes like EDM310 have taught me thus far and take matters into my own hands to further enhance those skills, and also to realize that technology is forever changing, so I must never stop learning, and change with it.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Mr. McClung Special Assignment

1. I've learned, through Mr. McClung's class blog, is that he is very organized and, if I may be so bold, he seems like a perfectionist, which is both a positive characteristic and something I admire. In addition to simply uploading posts from his students, he incorporates other links into his blog, like "Google Translate," which is very unique and helpful, he has a "song of the week" which makes his blog more personable, a facebook "like" button directly on the blog so you don't have to find it via facebook searches, as well as many other things.

2. As an educator, I say that Mr. McClung is very adept with teaching, providing, through careful analysis of his blog posts, hands-on experiences for his students. He strikes me as a generous teacher as well, particularly when I saw his T-shirt order form for a fundraiser. He seems like an educator who does not hesitate to include students' oppinions into his line of work.

3. Mr. McClung's rules, in association with his students, instill within anyone who reads them the ideas of connectivity, respect and compassion. He advocates a fun, uplifting and high-spirited school environment, a requirement which many teachers fail to regard in high esteem. They become so concerned with the coursework that they forget it can be enjoyable, which also puts stress on the students and takes the joy out of learning for them as well.

4. I actually laughed when I read the first thing under "everyone needs," and not because it's a silly idea -on the contrary, it's a necessity. The reason I find humor in this is that for years on end my mother stressed the importance of having a planner, and told me for years to use it! She couldn't be more right. Planners keep you organized and de-stressed so that you don't have to keep everything inside of your head. It maintains a sense of direction and organization.

5. In Dr. Strange's class, just as in Mr. McClung's class, he advocates the importance of GETTING THINGS IN ON TIME. Mr. McClung's penalty on late work is that for every day it is late it loses a letter grade. While some students may complain, one must think about the following questions: In the work force, will your manager or boss cut you some slack if you are late with work? NO! Termination of your job may follow. Late work is as good as no work, and Mr. McClung's as well as Dr. Strange's penalties for late-work are more than reasonable.

6. Through the use of his class blog, Mr. McClung wishes to help parents and other figures keep an eye on their students' progress, which, when condsidering adults' busy schedules, is really the best way to do this. I will be teaching secondary education so perhaps I will use this technique when teaching middle-school, but if I am to be teaching high-school students, I'll probably use this less; students at this age need to learn how to be accountable for their own work as they approach their college years.

7. The two links I focused on were Biology Corner and Gmail. Gmail is useful for the students in Mr. McClung's class because it is a direct link to see who may be posting comments on their blogs. And Biology Corner I found interesting because I have always been fascinated with biology. I went directly to the link about diessecting a fetal pig because, firstly, I've neverv dissected anything, and secondly, I find anatomy to be equally as fascinating as biology.

8. Under Internet Safety, Mr. McClung posts some rules and guidelines that really do make since, which I should take into affect. I've had a bad habit of posting my last name here and there on comments for other people's blog posts. Now, granted they are all blog posts assigned to us to read by Dr. Strange and it's all for academic purposes only, but even still, it is necessary to take precautions. Better safe than sorry.

9. For my C4K portion of this assignment, upon clicking one of the categories it was filed under, called "Ark History," I found a post entitled "Leadership," which included text and a video encompassing students speaking about the qualities a good leader should have, such as honesty, trust, intelligence, confidence and respect.

10. Something that Mr. McClung should incorporate into his blog that I would also like to do in blogger is yo add more background to his blog. It may seem silly, but just seeing the plain white in the back doesn't evoke excitement, much like the plain blackness of my own blog. Notwithstanding, it may be a bad idea anyway because the flashiness of it all may take away from the overall point of the blog itself, and that is education.

11. The way in which I think Mr. McClung made his blog useful to parents, teachers, administrators, students like myself and others is firtshand how students progress can be monitored. This single thing is for the benefit of all those aforementioned, for it gives parents the oppurtunity to view thier child's progress, teachers and administrators the oppurtunity to incorporate a style of teaching into their curriculum that they haven't encountered or utilized yet, and students like myself, training to become a teacher, to keep an eye out for useful teaching methods that we one day may utilize when in front of a classroom full of students.

12. The difference between Mr. McClung's 8th grade class and other 8th grade classes I have been monitoring is that Mr. McClung's class seems to be ahead of the game, and I don't say that to undermine other students, but to encourage them, as well as the teachers who teach these other students, to monitor Mr. McClung and the performance of his class and see how they are using technology to the best of their abilities in order to expand their already bright education.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Blog Post #11

First Graders in Ms. Cassidy's Class and

Ms. Cassidy is doing in her classroom what a lot of teachers probably wish they were doing. I would have never thought that children so young could be getting such a hands-on experience with technology! And all of it seems to be in a safe, appropriate setting in which parents wouldn't have to raise concerns about things like 'cyber bullies.' It all seems monitored, with the students only able to pull up those things are their class blog which will help further their education. I would love to see this in a classroom, especially because it was only until just recently that I became more accustomed with the world of technology (thanks to EDM310), and these kids are doing it so young!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Blog Post #10

An Open Letter To Educators

In her blog post, Morgan Bayda wrote her reaction to an ingenious video by Dan Brown, a student who dropped out of school because he claimed his "schooling was interfering with his education." She agrees with many of Dan Brown's opinions and voices that she too has felt cheated by universities in the manner they consume your money with textbooks and seemingly useless lecture courses. While she does says she wouldn't have dropped out of school, she is proud to admit that she also wishes to accept the inevitable change that is currently dawning on us, which is also inescapable.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Summary Post C4T #3

My comment was for Jerrid W. Kruse, a teacher, writer, editor and researcher. His first post that I commented on, "Pseudoteaching with Demos," was about his concern that many teachers and other individuals use demos for science classes and the like, which is, in and of itself, a good thing, but far too often the sole idea of these demos is essentially a form of entertainment, and falls short of any lesson learned. He says these demos have a 'whiz-bang' factor, which of course students are drawn to, but what else do children take from it? That is the question with which Jerrid is concerned.
In my response I told him that I greatly admire the fact that he stated entertainment is not equivalent to engaging, and that we as teachers or teachers-to-be should be readily prepared to differentiate between the two in any given circumstance. I told Jerrid that often I create in my amigination scenarios in which I am teaching the class, and all too often I fail to emphasize the importance of education, and instead emphasize that 'fun-factor' we've grown too accustomed to nowadays. As Jerrid said, we can't let students fall into the habit of wanting to learn only when 'fun' is promised.

My second comment for Jerrid W. Kruse was on his blog post "Edcamp should not be a conference," in which he described something called Edcamp, a conference where essentially a lot of teachers gather together to formulate ideas on how to learn and teach, but not in the same rigid format which people are more often used to. Jerrid said "What I see here is what classrooms & faculty meetings should be like," after explaining that people attending Edcamp aren't acting as "experts" which, in my opinion, is how conferences should be conducted: more layed back and not as stiff, so that creativity can be more easily shared amongst attendees. I told Jerrid that my sister, who is currently doing her student-teaching and will graduate this semester, recently attended a conference which she described as the complete opposite of what Edcamp sounds like: dull, rigid and dragged out, as apposed to Edcamp's laid-back approach, which to me seems more productive.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Blog Post 9

What I've Learned This Year

Mr McClung's post, "What I've Learned This Year," is a list of tips for first-time teachers, or, in fact, teachers in general. Mr. McClung himself had only taught for a year when he had written this post, and decided to pass on his newfound knowledge to others. He spoke of how we as teachers need to realize that how we plan a lesson is going to be very different than what the lesson actually turns out to be. We need to be flexible as teachers and allow students to be a part of our lessons as well. Mr. McClung mentioned that first-time teachers put far too much emphasis on the lesson itself, instead of on the students, who are the most important. Without the students, what good is the lesson, no matter how fantastically it is prepared? Also, Mr. McClung mentioned in his blog post that one of the main ways students know that the teacher respects them is if the teacher listens to thier input. Students want to feel like they're part of the lesson, which is how it should be. They are the whole reason why we are up there teaching in the first place!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Summary Post C4K #'s 4-6

C4K #4

This was a comment on James' blog at Pt. England School in Aucklund, New Zealand. He is in Mr. Barks' class in Room 18. His post was a picture of Goku, a character from an animated fighting series called Dragon Ball Z. I admitted to James that I did not know much about Dragon Ball Z or Goku, so I consulted a website called Dragon Ball Wiki in order to conduct some research. I informed James that I found out, through the aid of the website, that Goku is the protagonist in the Dragon Ball Z series, trains intensely to become a heroic figure, and keeps peace. I told James that this Goku character sounded like a very admirable figure, and finally, I thanked James for his post.

C4K #5

This was another comment for James. James' blog post was about Tarantulas. He wrote of how they move softly and silently through the desert in search of their prey. James also wrote that the spider can sense its prey from a meter away, then injects its victim with poison from its fangs which are two centimeters long. Through all of this James was a very good writer, making everything sound interesting, scientific as well as entertaining.

In my response to James' post, after introducing myself, I told him that I thought spiders, especially tarantulas, are fascinating creatures. I wrote how in nature shows the viewers see the spider lurking in the shadows, awaiting its victim, when all at once, before the audience or prey even has the remotest time to act, the spider lunges forward and claims its victim. I thanked him for his post and informed him that I often research spiders because they're so interesting to me, and that because of his post I would be researching a bit more.

C4K #6

This comment was for a video post done by students in room 8 at Melville Intermediate School. It was a series of two videos, the assignment being for the children to create a slideshow which featured 4 sets of 5 pictures, with themes being the Library, around Melville, Odd and Students of MIS. The students completed the assignment wonderfully, with interesting and very well-taken pictures from the aforementioned themes.

In my response, after introducing myself, I explained to them that I've always enjoyed learning visually and auditorily, and their videos stimulated my senses of sight and hearing. I actually danced to the catchy music they chose, and was quite awestruck, in fact, at a number of the pictures these young students took; they were of very good quality, a quality I am sure even skilled photographers could have captured at such a young age.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

SmartBoard Project #13

Questions on our Smartboard Form:
1)      Did the group as a whole cover the mypyramid categories effectively? On a scale of 1-5, all 3 participants answered 5.
2)      Was the presentation content easy to understand? All 3 participants answered yes.
3)      Did the speakers feel comfortable teaching the topic? On a scale of 1-5, 2 participants answered 5 and the other answered 4.
4)      Was the speakers’ volumes good enough? All 3 participants answered yes.
5)      Were all food categories discussed in the lesson? All 3 participants answered yes.
6)      What were your favorite parts of the lesson? 2 participants said animation, the other said content and animation.
7)      Did the animation contribute to the overall presentation? All 3 participants answered yes.
8)      Any way(s) that we can improve this lesson? Great job! I think the lesson was extremely effective! I think the lesson was great and didn’t need any work! I don't think you needed to learn the lesson. You came up with a fun, easy to understand lesson. I learned some stuff that I didn't know before. Great job!!
9)      Would you use this lesson in your own classroom? All 3 participants answered yes.

Blog Post # 8

Watch Richard Miller: This Is How We Dream Parts 1 and 2

I am going to be honest and say that I, personally, am not very keen on writing with multimedia. That is, of course, in the style of writing I most wish to produce. I'm currently working on a novel and, while I do use microsoft word to type it up (I loath with a passion writing by hand anything longer than a few pages), I am intending on publishing it (if I do get blessed enough to do so) the good old-fashioned way: a nice, hardcopy edition distributed into bookstores and the like. I would much prefer that than an entire novel of my own available only on the internet. I can't explain it to the degree with which you as readers of this blog post wish to understand, but I will say this: there will be nothing more satisfying than picking up a hardcopy of a book published by yours truly and gently turning each individual and touchable page. I'm not trying to be smug here at all; in fact, if I were to publish a book and become famous, I'd without a doubt hide from sight and wear sunglasses, hat and hoodie wherever I went. I'm just saying that I prefer reading entire novels in hardcopy form rather than on a screen. As you're reading this, you may think I missed the point of this presentation.

So allow me to switch gears. Writing a novel, that is, is something different. Let me talk about writing other things with multimedia. I love the idea! It's not just about text; visuals, audio and much more can be utilized when using multimedia. I really enjoy writing some of these blog posts; they're challenging, cause me to think and do research extensively. My personal opinion regarding writing with multimedia (other than a novel) is that it is a great experience and helps build the bridge from what we used to do to what we'll be able to do in the future.

 The Chipper Series and EDM310 for Dummies

EDM310 for Dummies and (especially) The Chipper Series had me laughing. The Chipper Series is essentially about a girl (Chipper) who believes that by procrastinating she can still manage to pass Dr. Strange's Class. Dr. Strange explains that work can only be submitted on time if full credit is wished to be recieve, so Chipper does anything and everything in her power to do what she wants. She tries to re-invent the definition of procrastinate so that, instead of meaning waiting until the last minute, it means waiting until after the deadline. She even tries to persaude Dr. Strange that she can see the future! All of this is to no avail, for the only way life goes smoothly is to plan your time wisely so that you don't procrastinate or submit late work. EDM310 for dummies concerns the frustration that ensues when things like twitter, skype and google docs doesn't come easily to you. In this video there is a promotion for a book (unfortunately one you can't actually buy) that helps in aiding the wondering and clueless student.

A video that I would enjoy promoting or being a part of would be would be a step-by-step instructional how-to lecture for EDM310, but approached in the way the RSA Animate videos are. 

Learn to Change, Change to Learn

I like the music in this video. Alright let's get to what's more important.

At the very end, when the insightful fellow said "It's the death of education, but it's the dawn of learning" pulled at me in some way. By that I assume he meant that the traditional styles of teaching and administering knowledgeable information to students will, before long, be a relic of a time gone by. That will be replaced by what the people in this video are a vouching for: a community of individuals, both students and teachers, formulating together and giving and recieving knowledge. All of this is very insightful, and it really makes me wonder what schools will look like when my children are students, and when their children are students. Will we have schools anymore? Will the definition of 'school' be entirely re-invented? Will we have an actual 'building' where students come together to learn from teachers? I don't know, I don't know. We as a society are always apprehensive when it comes to change. But we need to embrace that change, and go where the wind takes us.

Zambardo The surprising truth about what motivates us

The Secret Powers of Time instills within its audience the idea that time has changed, and with it, so should our take on how we aproach students with a particular form of education. Childrens' brains are being re-wired because of the re-wiring of technological media. There needs to be some re-wiring associated with our aproach as individuals, whether already a teacher or aspiring to be one.
The Surprising Truth About What Motivates us was extremely ensightful. The presentation explained that, if you have a high incentive for mechanical skills, performance increases, but a higher incentive for cognative skills results in a fall in performance, which I thought was particularly interesting. When people think something is work, no matter how much pay they recive, it's still work, so performance is naturally not going to be the best. That's why I didn't think it too odd when I found out, by this presentation, that people were willing to share their expertise, at perhaps even better performance than if they were working for money, for absolutely no pay. Sounds crazy, right? Not really. Because the idea is their own, they have control, therefore more incentive to creat something that exceeds our expectations, even if they aren't getting payed.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Post 1st Progress Report on PLN Project #10


This is incredible! So far I haven't done much, but I can tell in the near future I'll be expanding and utilizing my PLN extensively! Currently, I have signed up for an account on one of the two recommended accounts, 'Symbaloo.' From there it was relatively easy to get a start on it; the tour was easy to understand, and all of the little links were fascinating. It was interesting seeing what 'Facebook' and 'Twitter' looks like on a smaller feed. So far I've allowed my Symbaloo sight access to my accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Gmail, and Email, as well as reset the weather icon from its default location (New York) to Mobile, Alabama. How wonderful it's going to be to check the weather or the news on CNN with just a click of a button on the same webpage!

Short Movie Project #11

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Blog Post #7

Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture

My heart was beating faster than normal as Randy Pausch's astounding last lecture came to a close, with so many things resounding in my head. I want to do better. I want to be better. And not for the good of myself.

But this Blog Post isn't about that. It's about the techniques Mr. Pausch used in his lecture. Here is not where I say "Well, he used a powerpoint and some visuals..." No. The first technique of his that stood out to me was his organization. Now, when I say that, think of an ordinary conversation between you and your friends. Not your aqauintances. Your friends, and while we're imagining, imagine your best friends. The conversation is rather flee-flowing, correct? None of it seems planned or premeditated; the talking simply happens. It's natural, as all conversations between friends should be. Likewise, Randy Pausch's speech is natural. Yes, we know he's conversing with an audience and not his best friends, and yes, we know that his speech is in fact premediated. Notwithstanding, he presents it in a fashion that appears flee-flowing and natural, which is how speeches and lectures should be conducted. There's no stiffness. Yes, he stumbles here and there with a word or two... but who doesn't? The thing is, we don't concentrate on that. He picks himself right up and keeps going.

From the aforementioned we can assume that Randy Pausch did a lot of planning, which is another technique behind his wondrous lecture. Although everythinjg seems natural, the slides, pictures, stories and examples are there for a reason. He didn't just present them in his presentation in the order which he located them or thought of them. Everything in a lecture must planned and exact. It's not an accident.

A third technique of Randy Pausch's is his confidence. Yes, he is a college professor with years upon years of public-speaking experience under his belt, and yes he has numerous friends, and yes he is exuberant, funny, entertaining, likeable... wait a minute. Did he get like this over night? No. He spoke. You know, I must interject here that to do good things does not take rocket science. How do writers write so well? They write. How to do runners run so well? They run. How do speakers speak so well? They speak. If you want to gain confidence with speaking... the answer's simple. Speak! Get in front of a mirror, your brother, sister, best friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, puppy, etc. And speak. You will gain confidence. Randy Pausch has confidence, not because he was born with far more than just adequate speaking skills, but because he did it time and time again. We all want to listen to a confident person.

And lastly, I want to mention one more technique Randy Pausch used. He made us think. Think about brick walls, think about that "the best of the gold is at the bottom of barrels of crap," and that being valuable is being good at something. He didn't just spoon-feed us a lot of statistics, graphs and facts. He made us really think, which is what a lot of our assignments in EDM310 are stressing for us to learn how to teach our students. We don't want them to just know things. Anybody can know something. We want them to come up with their own revelations and ideas.

One more thing I'd like to mention. I have a childhood dream of my own. It's to write a book and get it published. Ever since I was a small child I wrote, whether it was a five-page book about pancakes (then spelled 'payunkayks' by yours truly) when I was 5, a 100-page book when I was 14, and now a work-in-progress-novel which is currently over 70,000 words long. It's speeches like Randy Pausch's which make my dream seem a little less like a dream, and more like a reality. Thank you Randy.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Summary Post C4T Teacher #2

My Teacher was Ms. Paul White, and her blog was a series of posts entitled "Reflections of the TZSTeacher." In her first blog post I commented on, she wrote about tension arising because of the state writing test being adminstered and completed through the computer alone, which is to come into affect in early March. She expressed hers as well as other teachers' concerns about it, some of which were questions like "should spellcheck be available to students?" and also "should students be able to use such things as 'bold' 'italics' etc?" I my response I answered 'no' to the first question. I expressed my opinion that an online writing test is fine, but only if it is exactly like that of a hardcopy form of the test. Therefore, students shouldn't be able to use spellcheck because, especially with a writing test, they should already know correct spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc. Likewise, I answered 'yes' to the second question because in an ordinary hardcopy test students are permitted to use italics and other things similar to it.

In the second blog post I commented on by Ms. White, she wrote of how students have said that they don't want to simply fill in the blanks on a test or assignment. They actually want to think. She responded by saying that we as teachers should want and aim for students being passionate about learning. She then inserted a list of exceedingly thought-provoking questions, none of which could be answered at a glance and all of which required decent research to some extent. Some of these questions were "Why ISN’T Pluto a planet any longer? How can it be a planet one day and not the next? Who decided it wasn’t?" and "When is a fact a fact?"
In my response I told her of 'burp-back' education (I'm beginning to say that often, now), and how we as teachers need to not, with our questions, make our students simply recite what we just said. We need to provoke them with thoughts, and perhaps if we did this students wouldn't get so bored with school as much. They would begin to possibly enjoy it.

And I know this is supposed to be a summary, but for any of you interested, I wanted to copy and paste my somewhat lengthy response to Ms. White's post.

Hello Ms. White!
My name is Matthew Poirier and I am a student in Dr. Strange’s EDM310 class. My immediate reaction to those questions of yours was “boy, time to do some research…” which is exactly what should be the response to questions in schools nowadays. The answer shouldn't be readily available, listed somewhere in plain english for everyone to just repeat. Thought provocation is what responses should be to questions. In Dr. Strange’s class, he speaks of what is called ‘burp back’ education, which is essentially feeding your students information and having them offer it back -’burp’- in an exam, test, etc. What? What is that? Definitely not leraning. It’s recitation. It’s similar to when a student comes up with an ingenious idea, then another student raises his hand and says “yeah, um, like what he was saying, bla bla bla…” Everyone thinks “Hey buddy, you’re just repeating what the smart guy said in your own words. Close your mouth and put your hand down.” Students need to make other students think. Need to make TEACHERS think. Yes, I said it. I’ll bet any teacher in the world has his/her day made when a student says something and the teacher, after being stumped for a moment, goes “hey wait a minute… that’s excellent! Why didn’t I think of that?!” Why didn’t I think of that. It’s a question we want to hear often, and especially after we’ve said something. No more burp-backing! Let’s get some real learning out there.

Forgive me if my 'summary' seems long-winded... I just got excited about this topic.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Summary Post C4K comments 1, 2 and 3

Comment #1
This comment was for an anonymous young student in 5th grade taught by Mr L. The student wrote about their first time to the zoo. There he/she, along with his/her parents and two sisters, went first to the monkeys, followed by snakes, bats and crocodiles. They then ventured on to visit large wildcats like lions and tigers, of which the white tiger was her favorite. The student informed me that the last thing they did was attend the petting zoo.
My response to the student was that I told her that I also enjoy going to zoo, and that while I was growing up in New Orleans, Louisiana my family and I made trips to the Audubon Zoo, where we too would look at the monkeys first, for they were the funniest and most entertaining animals, especially the orangutans. Lastly, I thanked her for her post and told her that I was glad she had a good time.

Comment #2
This comment was for a student named Efilona in Ms. Squires' Room 14 5th grade class at Pt. England School in Auckland, NZ. She uploaded to her blog a picture of the aftermath of the earthquake which just recently hit Christchurch. In my comment I told her that my heart went out to everyone in New Zealand and that I hoped she won't hesitate to help any of those in need. Her blog was looking a little bare, so I asked if she could spice it up a bit so that all of us in Alabama could learn a bit more about her and her school.

Comment #3

This assignment was for a young student in Room 16, taught by Mr. Kent Somerville, of Pt. England School in New Zealand. The student, 9-year-old Senolita, had a blog post about Holloween. She spoke about how she went with her aunt and cousins while her mother stayed home to do the laundry. She described her costume as baby powder, make-up and black lipstick on, so she may have been either a ghost or a skeleton (most likely a skeleton). She said trick-or-treat at the house next door which belonged to a Mr. Burt. Senolita's friend Ashleigh opened the door and apologized, so quite possibly had no candy to offer, but she did compliment Senolita's costume.
I wrote back saying it sounded like she had a very enjoyable Holloween, and I recalled a Holloween experience of my own in which I was dressed up like Spiderman and had a lot of fun. I also acknowledged a few other details on her blog, like how she likes the rapper 50 Cent.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Blog Post #6

The Networked Student

"Why does the networked student even need a teacher?" I too have pondered about this myself when watching or reading about how technology is being integrated so often into our educational system, and is now essentially a necessity for any classroom setting. My first reaction to this video was that it was extremely well done and organized. The speaker had excellent annunciation, the visuals were thought provoking as well as entertaining, and the aforementioned question, which was presented to the viewers at the presentation's closing, was adequately answered and even put a bit of my pondering to rest. While I may not yet be prepared to fully take on the needs of a networked student, thanks to this video, I now have some clarity. I agree that a teacher needs to be a moderator for the student and not only teach the students to effectively find information, but also to differentiate adequate information from questionable information (that's why teachers so often don't recommend cites like wikipedia for research papers, projects, etc; it can be edited by virtually anybody, so much of the information found there may not have an abundance of credibility).

A 7th Grader's Personal Learning Environment (or PLN)

Wendy's Personal Learning Environment was incredible! It goes to show that any student, no matter how old or young, can appropriately and extensively utilize the offers technology brings us. In comparing her PLN to mine, I just have to say that I am jealous and hope to one day use technology as effectively as her, but with the help of Dr. Strange's EDM310 class I'm on my way. I really enjoy how she used Glogster, a digital poster (which I didn't even know existed!) to present a wonderful visual project on box jellyfish. I may just have to create a Glogster myself one day!

Why Smartboards Are A Dumb Initiative &  Why I Hate Interactive Whiteboards

Both articles express negativity towards Smartboards and Interactive Whiteboards, vouching that they are a waste of money and something incorporated into schools for what apparently seems like no reason. There is not much differentiation between the two presentations, only that Michael Staton (Smartboards) says that he likes the idea of them, although they are too costly for any benefits, and Bill Ferriter (Whiteboards) says that they are 'basically useless.'

SMARTBoard Lessons and Using Animation

In this article, however, is expressed a positive view of Smartboards. The article's author explained the use of animation that can be used with a smartboard, which can be used to capture the audience's attention and captivate them. The article does warn us of the negative aspects of using animation (such as it being too distracting to students), but it insists that the benefits outweigh the costs.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Individual Project #9a

Blog Post #5

Not only did I receive a bit of knowledge and refreshment on things like Roman history and Christopher Columbus, but I am sure that this educational opportunity was also very beneficial for the kids, not only for the kids who completed this podcast but also kids from other schools eager to learn. These young students did an excellent job explaining their subjects in their podcasts.

The Beneļ¬ts of Podcasting in the Classroom

I really like how in this video they spoke of how podcasting is a cure for when students are out sick. As I write this, my group podcast assignment is already complete, and I integrated the idea of if a student is sick, the teacher could upload an assignment onto a blog via podcast, and the student could respond with a podcast himself. That way, if a student is out of school for either a day or an expended amount of time, they will not fall behind in their work. As the video says, crisis averted!

100 Ways to Use Your iPod to Learn and Study Better

It is great how industries like iPod are using their technology to help advance our education. I believe that the reason behind young students being readily willing to learn via MP3 players is because the younger generation is fond of new technology, especially the iPod. Bu utilizing that wonderful device for something more than just music, young students, because of their fondness for the devices, will be willing to learn through it. My favorite feature from the list of 100 is definitely the Free Classic AudioBooks. I love to read, and while it also provides classic novels for you, it also takes away the problem of having to pay a large sum of money for these books.

Podcast Project #8

Friday, February 11, 2011

Key Question of EDM310

Do you want your students and your children to face the future with or without "access to all of human knowledge with a few keystrokes?"

My answer to this question is most definitely 'with,' but it all depends on what we do with that knowledge. Much like what I said about Teaching in the 21st Century in Blog Post #4, it is all about how we apply that knowledge. To find information is one thing, which, if that is the limit of our abilities with this newly unique computer, I find considerably useless. To utilize that information effectively is what will make this new computer worthwhile.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Blog Post # 4

Don't Teach Your Kids This Stuff. Please?

Scott Mcleod is an Associate Professor in the Educational Administrative program at Iowa State University. He has recieved many awards for his extensive work with technology. His blog was a satirical rant of how overly-serious parents can become when their child is involved with the internet, and I have to agree with him. Some parents -not all, but some- are far too serious about this matter. In this day and age when technology is becoming such a natural part of our lives, children should be exposed to it early in life, much like they should be exposed at an early age to reading and writing.

The iSchool Initiative

This high-school senior's video was very organized and professional. He presented to his audience the idea of an iSchool: an entire school system stored on an iTouch system without the need for books, pencils, printers and other expensive devices. He promoted the idea that this would save tremendous amounts of money spent on precious resources.

Early into the presentation I was preapared with the following argument: With the iSchool, it will be too tempting for students to simply look up any information that they need. They won't be learning, but merely reading and then writing down what they read. My argument was stopped in its tracks, however, when he said "internet access will be limited to websites dedicated to education."

The only problem I see with this is that people will begin to lose face-to-face interaction with others, which is something that I feel is a necessity for a healthy life. If that problem can be bypassed, however, and students still maintain real interaction with others, so far I don't see any major flaws with this student's proposition.

The Lost Generation

I am always amazed by presentations like this, especially if I never expected it. I am a writer, so a good play on words always makes me admire the artist responsible. I was taken aback when first viewing the presentation, particularly upon seeing the words "In 30 years I will tell my children they are not the most important thing in my life." I am very family-oriented, so if I am ever blessed enough to raise a family, nothing on this earth will I hold in higher esteem than my spouse and children, so needless to say this statement shocked me. Nevertheless, it had a happy ending, and I heard everything I wanted to hear, rather than expected to hear. We often hear about negativity in our society. It's things like this that are so refreshing.

Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir

I am... speechless.

Now that I've composed myself as well as viewed it a second time, I feel that nothing I can say could match this particular instrumental presentation's magnitude, but I will attempt nonetheless. For one, the music itself was breathtaking, and two, the fact that all these people collaborated to make a presentation like this come to life in this manner is mind-blowing. This is an excellent use of technology, for not only is it a contemporary twist on what I believe is a classical piece, the vision of seeing each individual singer in their own home-atmospheres singing comfortably in any wardrobe gives you an opportunity to connect with the choir on an equal level, rather than deify them, which is something that we as the audience want to experience. We want to feel what they feel. Now, if you'll excuse me, I am going to go download this onto my iPod.

Teaching in the 21st Century

To teach in the 21st century does not mean what Dr. Strange calls "Burp-back education,' a system in which teachers say a bunch of facts and the students recite (burp) them back. In our society this kind of education simply will no longer do. As I have thought, and what Terri Hampton advocates, is that teachers should not just unload information onto their students -as the video presented, any information can be found anywhere. What we as teachers need to do is show children how they can apply that information, because for what other reason would all that information be useful? No more burping. Time for learning.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Blog Post #3

A Vision of Students Today

This is kind of scary. It goes to show that a great deal of things go into our educations, but the question is, what exactly are we getting out of them? I am a sophomore in college and already I have grown weary of what I believe is one of the biggest scams of college education: Textbook prices. Every semester I will pay one-hundred-plus dollars for a textbook that I will rarely, if ever, open, and the funny thing is, that has happened to me in classes -where I have not needed my textbook- where I have done absolutely fine in. If the textbook is not absolutely necessary, why is it that we are paying hundreds of dollars for them? Furthermore, I must mention the fact that nearly every semester a new addition of a textbook comes out, when in actuality it is barely a new addition at all; they have only changed a few sentences, page numbers, or paragraphs around. It is not a new addition. The ones responsible just want a new paycheck. I am a relatively calm and understanding person, but all I have to say is I have had enough, my siblings have had enough, and others have had enough. It is time for foundations involved with education to ask themselves: what really matters? Our extensive paychecks... or the future of these kids, who might possibly, with the right and affordable education, turn around our world's ecomical situation?

"It's Not about the Technology"

My response to Mrs. Hines post was that I had to agree with her statement that teaching is not about the technology. In instances like these, where we see technology getting the best of us, I tell myself something: 'For countless years we have performed well with both teaching and learning without the technology.' The question remains, however, 'why now are they pushing technology on us?' It is only because we have it. We don't need it. We never needed it. People should look at the past and see the great strides humans have made without ever needing a computer or an ipod or a blog. Did Benjamin Franklin have a laptop when he flew his kite? Did Thomas Edison get inspiration for his lightbulb while listening to music on his ipod? Now, this isn't to say that technology is a bad thing -it's done wonders for us, of that there is no doubt-, but when it comes to teaching, we should keep it to a minimum.
I must add that I really do believe that technology should be incorporated into our schools. It is a way of life now, one which we must embrace. Notwithstanding, technology is not what we should concentrate on.

Is It Okay to Be a Technologically Illiterate Teacher?

Mr. Karl Fisch is a very bold man indeed, but I can relate a bit to what he said in his blog. I, like Mr. Fisch, have witnessed parents saying to their children "well don't worry, dear; I wasn't very good at math myself," as if insinuating that thier [the parent's] ignorance about the subject is sufficient enough of a reason for their child to not be good at it, and perhaps even reject it. The same principle does apply when people seem proud that they cannot use the internet adequately. While I do agree with everything aforementioned, I must say that, while Mr. Fisch's bold statement does have a point, I do not agree with it. Firstly, though, I must mention what constitutes a necessary skill. You need English. If you are to teach English, that is. You need math. If you are going to be a mathematician. And unless you are going to be a computer engineer or something of that nature that involves the extensive use of technology, you do not need it. To say that now if someone is technologically illiterate is the same as someone 30 years ago not knowing how to read and write is far too bold of a statement.
Then again, one must think in terms of the questions 'is this a bold statement now?' and 'will my oppinion change over time?' See, years ago people became offended when others looked down on them for not being able to read and write (and many people did not know how to read and write), but now, nearly everyone knows how to do these two things. Will history repeat itself? In 30 years will nearly everyone know how to use technology extensively? Only time will tell. Mr. Fisch is on to something, though, no doubt about that.

Gary Hayes Social Media Count

Things involved with technology are forever changing and I believe that, as a future teacher, it is something I must embrace, for it is unavoidable. I do not say that in a bad way, merely that technology, whether we like it or not, is always going to be there and is never going to stay the same. This media count, while possibly overwhelming to some, simply reflects something that has been going on for ages: everything changes. Do you see horse-drawn carriages? Men in top hats? No. The fact of the matter is that everything from fashion to transportation has changed and will always be changing. It is something we must not only accept, but use to our advantage.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Blog Post # 2

Did You Know?
I was blown away by this video presentation. It is simply amazing how many things happen that you overlook, and in such a small amount of time, too. My brothers and I have discussions about things like this. In the early 1990's, video games were just beginning to be produced, with unrealistic graphics and extremely picselated visuals. Now, barely 20 years later, graphics in video games have improved exponentially, and in the near future there is no telling what will happen. My guess is that it will be an an entirely virtual experience one day, with players feeling that they are actually in the game.
What both concerns and impresses me by this presentation is how they ended it, with the question "So what does it all mean?" Who is to say? No one can. It is an intimidating, yet exciting, concept.

Mr. Winkle Wakes
This video really made me think. Firstly, I will present my concern, which is a question "why haven't schools intergrated as much technology into their system as other things have?" I cannot give a precise answer, but that concern opened up a sense of relief, oddly enough.
My relief is this realization: a long time ago, schools were run not much differently than they were only a few years ago. It seemed to work back then, so it does not make much sense to change something that is already good. Of course there have been changes here and there with schools, some may say drastic ones, but if the school systems stick with what worked in the past, education may look promising in the future.

Sir Ken Robinson: The Importance of Creativity
I have seen this video before, and I must say that I am glad to be seeing it again.
Firstly, I have to say I agree with Sir Ken Robinson. School does seem to kill creativity. One such is example is what Sir Ken addressed, the issue of funds not being properly organized for extra curricular activities, such as dance, art, music, etc. Who's to say that these things aren't as important as math, science or english? I have a friend who is a graphic design major, and many of his courses are in the art building. He often tells me of how the school does not provide adequate funds for the art building. We see art everywhere. It is important.
Another friend of mine, my girlfriend, is a fantastic dancer, whom I was reminded of when Sir Ken Robinson spoke of the little girl at the end of his presentation. The little girl did not need medication to stifle her creativity; she needed to dance. Likewise, my girlfriend expresses herself through movement (dance) and not with words (like an english class). To her, creativity is everything, and it should be to many.

Cicelia Gault Interviews Sir Ken Robinson
This video is wonderful, and I, like Sir Ken Robinson, would also like to adress the three myths of creativity. The first, 'only certain people are creative' and the third, 'you're either creative or you're not,' can go hand in hand. I think that everyone is creative in their own way, and the only reason why someone wouldn't be is if no one ever encouraged them to take their creativity further. I know that many people lose interest in their creative abilities because no one showed interest in the first place.
The second myth, 'creativity is only about certain things,' is also a rediculous notion, which I think is another factor which stifles creativity at a young age. People say things like 'oh, you will never get anywhere with singing; try dancing' and vice versa. I think any parent, teacher or supervisor, when sensing creativity in a child, should do anything in their power to direct that child into further expanding their natural talent.

Vicki Davis: Harness Your Students' Digital Smarts 
Vicki Davis's class reminds me so much of EDM310: an innovative classroom setting which involves not only becoming someone who is technologically literate, but also a self-learner. She mentions how when she says a new word her students are expected to look it up if they do not understand it, which is a great teaching tool in my opinion.
She reminds me tremendously of Dr. Strange, who also believes that the best way to learn is to do rather than simply listen to a lecture and 'burp it back up.' Another similarity between Dr. Strange and Vicki Davis, and also one I admire, is that eventually things like pens and paper become a nuisance; they both promote a 'green' classroom setting.


Wordle: ma blog

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Project # 3 C4T


For my C4T assignment I was to go to Dianne Krause's Blog. The post that I commented on, which is one among many of a long list of quotes called "Dianne's Digital Discoveries," is about SpanishDict, which is an online Spanish-English dictionary founded in 1999. The cite is very easy to use; you simply type in either a word or phrase and with the click of a button the cite will accurately translate it for you. Her post about the reliable and interesting cite mentions SpanishDict concentrates on making learning languages a fun  experience, and also that people can ask questions on the cite and have them answered. In my comment I told Miss Dianne how I would most definitely be returning to the cite. I took a home-schooling Spanish course back in middle-school, and I told Miss Dianne how useful SpanishDict would have been if I had known about it then.

SMART Board Terminal

The second post that I commented on Dianne Krause's Blog was also part of "Dianne's Digital Discoveries." Her post was about the SMART Board Terminal, which is a wiki created by Lauren Boucher, a teacher from Pitt County Schools. The SMART Board Terminal is a very ingenious tool designed to let anyone organize educational information of their own as well as find educational tips from others. It is a wiki, so the visitor of the cite has the flexibility to edit it to their own needs. I told Ms. Dianne that I thoroughly enjoyed the cite and that I went straight for a link called Vocabulary Games and Resources, which provided me with a plethora of fun games for students to use that can teach them English (which is what I focused on in my comment to Ms. Dianne) as well as math, science, history and other subjects. It is a good tool for both the teacher and the student.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Practice Post

Hello! My name is Matthew Poirier. I am a sophomore at the University of South Alabama in Mobile. I'm an English major, live in a big family (8 in total) and enjoy excercising, reading, writing and playing music. I hope to one day be a teacher and author, and am currently working on my first, full-length novel.