Thursday, September 29, 2011

Project # 8 Podcast

Project #7 C4K

In this project, we were to comment on kids' blogs. These kids are students from around the world who are learning how to write better and share their ideas, art, feelings and class projects through blogging.

In the first two weeks of the project, my blog responses were to Amos, a seventh grade student in Ms. Tito's class at Pt. England School in Auckland, New Zealand. In his first blog post, Amos explains that his class went to the YMCA to practice their swimming techniques. I told him that since I live close to the Gulf of Mexico, I thought it was important to know how to swim well. I also saw on their class blog that the school's rugby team won the national championship and I congratulated his school. In Amos' next post, he talks about the rugby team winning the championship. You can tell he is very excited and proud of his school's team. I told him I thought it was important to support his classmates, school and friends.

My next student was an eighth grader in Mrs. Nua's class from Pt. England School named Ieremus. Here Ieremus told a short story about his family going to the beach and about him being stung by a jellyfish. I told him I had recently seen a large jellyfish at the beach and I told him how jellyfish can still sting even after they're dead. I also left him a link to learn more about jellyfish.

The third post was by Annexe, a seventh grader at Pt. England in Ms. Tito's class. She shares a picture of a measurement problem on the math website that she is working on. I told her I thought it was awesome that she likes math and problem solving and I told her to go with the purple ball and the brown ball on her math problem.

measurement problem on computer

My next response was to Zechariah, from Bailey Road School, a primary school in Auckland, New Zealand. In his post, "Stencil Art," Zechariah shows artwork about freedom done by his classmates. I thought the stencils made a profound statement against apartheid and brings attention to South African history and society.

stencil of a bird and the word freedom

Our last C4K assignment this month was to take a poll on which New Zealand flag we preferred on Kids With a View. I chose the traditional New Zealand flag because I like the red stars of the constellation on it. I left a link for anyone who might want to learn about Crux.

two flags of New Zealand

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Blog Post 5

keyboard, mouse and code

Don’t Teach Your Kids This Stuff. Please? by Scott McLeod

In my first blog post review, Dr. Scott McLeod sarcastically tells parents, teachers and administrators not to encourage students to use the web, make videos, write code, write blogs and use social networking sites, and especially no cell phones! Unfortunately, this is exactly what is going on in our schools today. He lists some excuses as to why technology is not taught, such as the possibility of cheating, online predators and cyberbullying. One line says, “we can’t trust them.” This makes you realize we have to get past our fears and allow our children to not only keep up with the fast-paced technological world we are living in today, but to create and invent new technology. We do this by educating our children about the things we fear for them and showing them the right thing to do. We must lead by example. As parents, teachers and students, we have a responsibility to use, learn and teach technology.

Dr. Scott McLeod is the Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Kentucky. He is the founding director of a program called CASTLE, Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education, which, according to his website,, is “the nation’s only academic center dedicated to the technology needs of school administrators.” He has been awarded several honors in education and technology. Also, I have to say that his Did You Know - Shift Happens video was inspirational. It really made me want more for Alabama students.

iSchool Initiative logo

The iSchool Initiative and ZeitgeistYoungMinds Entry by Travis Allen

In two YouTube videos, Travis Allen introduces us to a new method of learning with his iSchool Initiative. He expresses his concerns over budget cuts in his school system, teacher layoffs and overcrowded classrooms. He proposes that we use technology to cut back on our schools’ budgets by using Apple’s iTouch platform. By using the iTouch, classrooms could go green by not having to purchase textbooks and assignment worksheets because all books and lessons will be done on the iTouch. I believe that soon, textbooks will be replaced by programs such as Classic, but he states that no paper or pencils will be used. He doesn’t explain how tests would be conducted without paper and pencil or computer. Could this be done using iTouch? Some of the applications he shows, like the periodic table of elements, would save time and make learning the table easier. But I think students still need to see and touch globes and paper maps and learn how to make maps by hand. The formulae and calculators would definitely save students money. A few apps he mentioned brought up, in my mind, the question of cheating. If you can record lectures and send those, and notes, to other students, couldn’t students just as easily send test questions and answers? Also, the iHomework app would be very helpful to students, especially for long distance study groups, but it would be easier than ever to cheat off of someone else’s homework. Another positive thing he has thought of is limiting internet access on the device. This would cut down on the misuse of this valuable resource.

This was an incredible idea from such a young man. Overall, I think his proposal is great. There are still some kinks to be worked out, but at least he recognizes the problems our schools face and has come up with an alternative to the way schools teach now. Several schools across the country are implementing his idea. I think the iTouch would be an excellent tool to have, but still has a few questionable features.

girl singing

Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir Shared by Jennifer Chambers

This was amazing! Former EDM310 student Jennifer Chambers shares a virtual choir of 185 people singing Lux Aurumque most harmoniously. I honestly didn’t know this could even be done, at least not done this well. This opens up a world of possibilities for using You Tube videos. One thing I thought of was, if you heard a great video lecture or lesson from a teacher in, say, New Zealand, you could present it to your own class as part of your lesson. Teachers oceans apart can help to educate each others' students.

Inspector Gadget with a coat full of technology for students

Teaching in the 21st Century by Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts discusses how teachers provide students with facts, formulas, dates, theories and other limited information. He says students have many means by which they can find out any information they want, such as the internet, cell phones, Facebook, et cetera. He makes a very profound statement: “Teachers are no longer the main source of information. We are the filter.” But we have to show them how to use this technology, how to filter the information for themselves and show them how to be problem solvers. In doing this, we are not only teaching them how to find the most accurate information they need in our class, but they can carry the problem-solving techniques and problem-solving mindset with them, not only to help them in school, but also through their lives.

I believe what he is stressing to us is that, as educators, it is our primary goal to make thinkers and solvers out of our students if we want them to survive in the technological world we live in. He asks “What does it mean to teach?” I believe Roberts is saying we have to show students how to teach themselves and show them how to use technology and skills responsibly.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Project #9A

In this assignment, I made a timeline of my family on Timetoast. Here I introduce you to my immediately family members. Hope you enjoy viewing my timeline! But before you look at my timeline...Look at this picture. Get it? Timetoast! Ha!

toast with clock face

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Blog Post 4

Eagles Nest Radio Podcasts

In three radio podcasts by Mrs. Edmison’s 3rd grade class, the students perform a great radio show where the children give a lesson to us about ancient Rome, early explorers and sharks. The students were very well spoken, you could hear them all clearly and they transitioned well from one student to the next by identifying each speaker. I was impressed because the children spoke as if they were stating factual information from memory, not simply reading from a paper. Also, they thanked the shark expert for giving the interview. I was really impressed! One thing I learned was how the use of sound effects can make audio podcasts more interesting.


Silvia Tolisano gives instructions on how she helped 1st graders make a storybook podcast. I think it is outstanding that she and the teacher are introducing 1st graders to this process. Making the books for them to follow along with was a great idea because they are reading, hearing and seeing the words at the same time. Ms. Tolisano also gave step-by-step instructions so you can have your own dinosaur read-along, which will be very interesting to my 1st grader. This video made me realize that I can start introducing my child to technology like this. I hope that she and I can create our own storybook podcasts after I learn how to do it!

Judy Scharf’s Podcast Collection

Ms. Scharf’s website is a life saver! I should’ve read this before even viewing the first podcast. It explains exactly what a podcast is and gives links to Audacity and a YouTube video showing how to make a podcast. The video is a must for newbies like myself. It showed me how to use Audacity. This will be very helpful to us in our group’s upcoming project. She makes it easy for even technologically illiterate teachers to do a podcast with their class by outlining the directions and a time frame, giving tips and topic suggestions, even a grading rubric. Dr. Strange, maybe you should have made this required reading!

girl sitting in front of computer screen holding mouse, smiling

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Blog Post 3

In the first portion of this assignment, I read Assignment #12 by former EDM310 student Paige Ellis. In her post, she expresses concern about grammatical, spelling and punctuation errors on her classmates' blogs. She discusses the issue with Dr. Strange in email and they rightly agree that such errors should be pointed out to the writer. There is some discussion of whether to make these corrections in a comment to the writer or by email. I prefer to make corrections by email because that's the way I would like to receive them in case I make a mistake that embarrasses me. I emailed Isaac Evans some minor corrections I found in his Blog Post #2 after watching the Peer Edit With Perfection Tutorial.

Second, we read Kelly Hines' article It's Not About the Technology. Here she makes four great points concerning technology in the classroom. First, she says, "Teachers must be learners" and stay current on the latest research and tools. I agree that it is important to stay as up-to-date as possible with technology. There are always new ways to teach, which is necessary as every child learns in a different way. That brings me to her next point.

She states that "Learning and teaching are not the same thing." If the way you are teaching is not working for the child, then you must change your method for that child until they "get it" or you are actually not teaching him or her. Third, she says, "Technology is useless without good teaching." This is a great point! In the comment I left for Ms. Hines, I equated this to having a ship without a captain. What good is having computers in every classroom if teachers cannot operate them and teach students with them? In her last section, she drives home her view that it is not about the technology. She says to "Be a 21st century teacher without the technology." You cannot give a child a computer and believe he will then excel on his own. You must teach them how to search, how to problem solve and how to think for themselves and use the tools given to them. It is our job to teach students how to learn.

The third item to review was Karl Fisch's, Is it Okay to be a Technologically Illiterate Teacher. Here Mr. Fisch delivers what I believe to be an extreme view on technologically illiterate education professionals. He says, "If a teacher today is not technologically literate - and is unwilling to make the effort to learn more - it's equivalent to a teacher 30 years ago who didn't know how to read and write." I'm not sure if I agree with his comparison but I do agree that everyone from school inspectors to principals to teachers to paraprofessionals should all understand the technology being used in classrooms today. After all, how can a principal evaluate his teachers if he doesn't understand what is going on in the classrooms?

Mr. Fisch does not define what technological literacy is, however. I thought I was technologically literate until my first night in EDM310. I think there are different levels of literacy and there should be a standard for entering the profession and for teachers continuing their technological education, as well as for principals, school board members and every other professional involved with the educating of children.

For part four of this assignment, we are directed to Gary Hayes Social Media page by Gary Hayes. I was astounded and overwhelmed by the statistical information provided. Watching the numbers fly before my eyes on the counter reminded me how quickly technology is growing.

While I cannot comment on as many stats as I would like to in this blog post, I have to make mention of one major subject that drew my attention. It said $805 million was made from physical books in the U.S. in January 2011, a 30 percent drop from last year, but $69.9 million was made from eBooks in January 2011 in the U.S., a resounding 115 percent increase from last year! I have taken many online classes but have only had access to a few eBooks, and the classes always required books in hard copy to read from. More than one professor has mentioned that paper books will soon be a thing of the past. With iPads, book readers and portable computers, and I believe this is a step in the right direction for students and I believe I will see them replace paper books in my career as a teacher.

The fifth and last review is A Vision of Students Today by Michael Wesch. A survey of 267 students shows some startling statistics. One student holds up a sign that reads "I will read 8 books this year," and "2300 web pages..." This demonstrates that students today spend way more time on the computer than learning the "old school" way, another reason I believe eBooks are the way to go for students.

The last couple of signs students hold up show that they use their computers more for Facebook and other internet browsing rather than for doing classwork in class. This is very discouraging to a teacher. While I find this a misuse of technology in the classroom, I still think the majority of students would benefit from having an interactive technological approach to learning inside the classroom, no matter the grade level. It ends with a teacher writing on a chalkboard the question, "What is missing" when using the chalkboard. He writes "videos, photos, animations, network." There are so many more resources and tools at hand inside a computer. We just have to learn how to use these tools and teach them to our students.

teacher instructing a lesson using a SMART board with students sitting on the floor with their hands raised

Project #5

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Project #3 C4T#1

In this project, I was assigned to view and comment on two posts from Mr. Chamberlain's blog, At the Teacher's Desk>

The first post I read was A Better Way to Learn and Teach Vocabulary. He explained a method of teaching students how to define vocabulary words with a three-step system. First, he writes the word on the board. Next, he draws a picture of what the word means to him. Last, he explains to the students why that particular picture reminds him of the word. The results of this approach were "immediate improvement" in students who had previously scored poorly! In my comment to him, I explained that the human brain is remarkable in the way it links images, smells and other senses to words in our memories. I told him that for a definition to "stick" in my mind, I had to see it, read it and write it repeatedly, but I thought that linking a word to an image I constructed in my mind would help me to remember the word better. I thanked him for sharing this idea and told him I would implement this method in my own learning, in teaching my daughter and in my own classroom.

human brain

The second post from Mr. Chamberlain was Why I Require My Students to Blog. He says the main reason he has his students blog is so they can communicate with a large, varied audience in order to create conversations between his students and their audience. He explains that it is important for students to converse through writing because it boosts their self-esteem and causes them to think. They can share their passions, hopes, ideas and dreams with others, no matter where they live. I responded that blogging is like the present-day method of writing in a journal and could serve as a therapy, an outlet or release for students. Not only does blogging teach the students a bit of technology, but positive affirmations from peers and adults will give a child pride in his or her accomplishments and make them more confident in writing or speaking to others. I explained to Mr. Chamberlain that this blog made me realize why Dr. Strange has us commenting on posts from our classmates, teachers and students around the world.

little girl looking at computer screen with hand on mouse

Friday, September 2, 2011

Blog Post 2

“Did You Know?”
Did You Know? by Karl Fisch and Scott McLeod

question mark with girl

I found the “Did You Know” video very interesting, and somewhat overwhelming. The facts and statistical information given shows how far we have come in technology by showing how Facebook and even iPod reach a broader audience quicker than conventional television and radio and shows how we are preparing for our future to be rich in technology. For instance, it says we are preparing students for jobs which do not yet exist and using technology that has not yet been invented. We are growing technologically at an alarming rate. In 1984 (I was 4 years old), there were 1,000 internet devices. In 1992 (I was 12), there were 1,000,000 internet devices (and I was given my first typewriter for Christmas). By 2008 (at age 28), there were 1,000,000,000 devices. Something I found amusing was that, for a person obtaining a four-year technical degree, half of what they studied in their first year will be outdated by their third year because technical information is doubling every two years!

One interesting and overwhelming prediction stated was that, by the year 2049, there will be a super computer that will have the computational capabilities of the entire human species. This made me imagine a black and white “Twilight Zone” scene where computers take over the world! I jest, but it does make one wonder about all the possibilities. The video ends in a question, “What does it all mean?” I think this means that we are all in for a lifetime of learning and updating, expanding in the fields of technology, science, mathematics, medicine, space exploration, et cetera, et cetera. It seems as though perhaps technology is growing faster than the human population.

”Mr. Winkle Wakes” Mr. Winkle Wakes by Mathew Needleman

I put myself in the place of poor Mr. Winkle, awakened after 100 years to discover machines connecting people, allowing them to converse face-to-face from hundreds of miles away, machines doing things never imagined possible in the year 1911. In every business and hospital across America, you see these lights and sounds in fast-paced environments. We even taken them for granted in 2011. But they may be frightening to one who has not grown up with technology, being introduced to new devices all at once.

However, when he arrives at the school, he is put at ease because there are no lights and beeping sounds, no one running around in a hurry. He finds students sitting in rows, taking notes the same way they always have, with a dusty computer in the back of the classroom. It causes you to wonder how these students are going to keep up with the high-paced advanced workplace in the future if they are not introduced to the present technology we use right now. Another thing to ponder is, without being taught how to use computers and operate machines now, how will they ever keep up with future technology, and who will invent new devices and continue the progress?

”The Importance of Creativity” Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity | Video on
ballet slippers

In this presentation, Mr. Ken Robinson discusses the importance of creativity in children. He starts with a very important point, how we all feel deeply about our educational background, be it a positive or a negative experience. The next great point is how children have a great capacity for learning. But he brings up a scenario we don’t give enough thought to, which is that there is no room for error in today’s world, so children are afraid to make mistakes, therefore their creativity is limited drastically because they are forced from a young age to “color inside the lines.”

He goes on to explain how there are academic hierarchies in every country, with science and arithmetic being at the top and arts and dance being at the bottom worldwide. He says that, before the 19th century, public education systems existed mainly for the purpose of meeting the demands of industrialism, so the most useful people for work are at the top. So, maybe subconsciously, parents and educators direct us away from music and art and towards what they believe are career-oriented fields. In doing this, children leave creativity behind. He defines creativity as “The process of having original ideas that have value.” I have to agree that it is important to let our children discover and develop their talents, yet I still believe our current public education system is doing the right thing in teaching children first the fundamentals, such as writing, reading, math and science.

Mr. Robinson’s story about Jenny, the child in the 1930’s with ADHD, was remarkable, but unfortunately placing a child in a school for arts is not always possible. Jenny was allowed to flourish in this new environment and went on to be a famous dancer and multi-millionaire. I think it is imperative that children today learn the curriculum provided in the classrooms and be allowed to enjoy sports and dance alongside it. Music, dance and art are not a substitution for math, science and language arts, however.

”Laura’s Blog”
Can U.S. Students Compete? interview of Ken Robinson by Cecilia Gault on
the word creativity above a wooden bust of a man with sections drawn on his head and numbered

Student Cecilia Gault interviews Mr. Ken Robinson on his three myths of creativity. Young Ms. Gault stays focused in her interview, and I had to wonder if this young lady came up with the interview questions on her own or if someone told her what to ask. Her first question was “How can education change to meet the needs of the 21st century?” Second, she asks him to list his three methods of creativity. Lastly, she asks him to define intelligence.

Mr. Robinson answers the first question by saying the curriculum in school has to change, that it needs to be more balanced between science and the arts and that we have to make better use of technology, and that schools and the communities they are in need to be better linked together. To answer his second question, he says the three myths are that only certain people are creative, that creativity is only about certain things, such as design or advertising, and lastly, that you are either born with creativity or you’re not. He explains these myths, saying that everyone has creative capabilities, that you can be creativity in a variety of fields and that you can teach people to be more creative. He goes on to define intelligence as a way to solve problems and make sense of the world around us.

I agree wholeheartedly that creativity is significant in a developing child, but he does not explain how to implement creativity into the classrooms, which are already crowded and strapped for cash. Technology must be put in our classrooms and taught to our children, no matter the cost. I guess the question is how do we convince parents and our governing bodies to become more involved?

Harness Your Students’ Digital Smarts featuring Vicki Davis on

I have to say this video sparked my interest and grabbed my attention more than the others. Vicki Davis, a teacher and IT director at a school in southern Georgia, “empowers” her students by forcing them to be thinkers, using technology to connect her students to the world. She won an award for having the best teacher blog in the world, which is quite admirable in my opinion. A siren went off in my head when she said she accomplishes the curriculum, but customizes what happens in the classroom according to her students! Every child learns differently, yet we are only teaching one way, and therein lies many of the problems in our education system in America. Ms. Davis hit the head of the nail in her approach to teaching.

It reminded me of EDM310. She said she is teaching them how to learn. I have learned more about computers in the first week of Dr. Strange’s class than I have since starting college in 2009 (I am not trying to get brownie points here, I’m serious, and I bet my fellow classmates agree with me). I believe Dr. Strange is trying to make us “comfortable using any kind of technology,” as Ms. Davis states she is trying to do for her own students. She wants her students to be thinkers; Dr. Strange expects the same from us. One other thing Ms. Davis said stood out in her video that reminded me of EDM310. She said she does not need to know everything before she teaches it. Basically, she and her students can learn new technology together. All of this mirrors Dr. Strange’s class motto quotes, “I don’t know. Let’s find out,” “Bring your brain and turn it on,” and “Questions are more important than ‘answers’.” After reviewing these videos, I see things with a broader eye and understand better what Dr. Strange is trying to do for us (not to us).