Sunday, January 27, 2013

Project #2 Wordle

Blog Post #2

Did You Know? 3.0 - A John Strange 2012 Version

As a future educator it will be a imperative to stay connected with the fast paced world of technology. I think about change and it can be a bit scary at times, but I will have to compare the necessity of change with my former occupation of retail. As a manager at my former employer, "Big Box Retail", if you did not embrace and promote the changes being made in the operation and flow of the company, you didn't have a job. It will be the same with education. If a teacher is set in their ways and refuses to change then I expect that a position will become available. This will happen because of the inability to properly fulfill curriculum standards that are forevermore changing.
This video really makes me think about the way people learn, and how education is totally different than it was just fifteen years ago when I was a junior college student. Online resources, paperless assignments, and the speed of communication has totally changed the relationship between teacher and the student/parents. The internet and digital media capabilities have changed our society from an industrial occupation environment to a post-industrial extreme technology environment. My mother is sixty-eight years old and she never imagined the changes that would be made in society just like I cannot imagine what technology will be like when my two year old is my age (34).
Whether or not people agree with the way the future of society is going to be, it goes back to Spencer and Darwin's "Survival of the Fittest" mentality. Right now people that decided not to embrace technology find themselves in occupations that require excessive manual labor or at worst, unemployed due to lack of skills and knowledge. Embrace Change, is my best advice.

Mr. Winkle Wakes

Matthew Needleman described the classroom as unchanged in his video, but the video was uploaded in 2008. I have to say that I am sure there are still classrooms in education that are still unchanged today but as a whole I feel that most Board of Educations across America are starting to change. The reason is a new generation of administrators are taking the reigns of the metaphorical "horse and buggy". Those new administrators know that they are losing the attention of the students. As I mentioned in a former post that I want to keep the students engaged by fostering the technology that they love and "can't live without". Kids will always dislike homework, but if they have to physically write assignments and turn in the following day rather than type them and upload them to an online database, the chance of keeping them engaged will be far yonder more challenging.
In 1990 the student dropout rate was an estimated 12.1% and in 2010 it was 7.4% as reported by the National Center for Education Statistics. USA Today reported that a main contributor to the decline was the economy. What drives today's economy, technology. A technology driven society creates a desire to have the latest smartphone, the newest gaming system, or the technologically advanced automobiles. Without a high school diploma or equivalent a person makes 41% less per year than someone with a diploma. To attain those desires, legally, people must have those credentials to afford such items. Our world's technology is moving at warp speed and educators must keep up to supply the need for technocation.

Sir Ken Robinson: The Importance of Creativity

Sir Ken Robinson mentioned three themes: evidence of human creativity, no idea about the future, and the capacity for innovation that children have. With classrooms as Matthew Needleman described, it will be impossible for children to be prepared for the future. Robinson mentioned that the public school systems stigmatize mistakes. If children are not able to apply their creativity to their education they will be as he stated "Educated out of creativity". The technology of today was the creativeness of someone's dream or imagination. Robinson talked about how schools were created to meet the need of industrialism. As I alluded to earlier, further up in this post, we are in a post-industrial society where technology drives everything. How will our children keep up without this knowledge.
As educators we need to feed the creativity of our students and embrace their ideas. Not to gain any brownie points but I admire the updates to EDM310 that are ideas from the students. Embracing those ideas furthers the possibility of education and it breaks the mold on old school ways of teaching. Learning from each other and sharing information increases the likelihood of exponential learning.
I enjoy cooking, and I have been taught how to cook from many different mediums. My mother and grandmother taught me how to cook many things. Television, books, magazines and the internet have taught me even more, but I have taught myself the most about cooking through experimentation. I have had a few horrible dishes come out of that creativeness, but there have been some really great tasting meals come to the table by adding my own spin on classic recipes. As a parent I know I have quenched that creativeness in my children at times, but I am trying to provide a playground for discovery. As an educator I must provide the appropriate environment for my students to learn.

Pinterest: Using Available Resources

This was my first visit and exploration of Pinterest. I never imagined that Pinterest would be a source of education ideas and technology. I really like the idea of students using Pinterest as a way to collaborate on group assignments. This innovative idea dissolves the barriers that would prevent students from contributing to a group project without the need of a physical meeting place. This doesn't substitute going to the library to research but only makes it much more possible for full group collaboration. Most students have parents that are both working and they end up not having a way to meet with classmates to do research or assemble the project. With the digital age of Power Point, podcast or video presentations, students can accomplish these assignments from home via the web.
I found Samia Wahab to be a viable sourch to new ideas and news of education. One article pinned by Wahab was about online education. As a parent I am taking advantage of the convenience of online classes to fit my personal life. Also I like Edudemic's site as well. They had an article that discussed using Facebook as a teaching resource. In my blog post #1 "Future Classroom" section I mentioned using technology to present learning in a new way to engaged the students. Over all Pinterest appears to be limitless with possibility.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Blog Post #1

About Me
My name is Jarrod Roberts,I am 34 years old and I am a proud husband and father of four beautiful children, three boys and a girl. I spent 12 years in retail and management and realized that I was missing a lot of special moments with my family. I received an Associates Degree in Graphic Design from Faulkner State Community College in 1998. After evaluating what was important to me and my family I leaned towards the passion I have for history. For my personal enjoyment and hobby I have spent time retracing local history. I can remember a few teachers through the years that had a passion for a subject therefore they were very good at teaching it to the students. I also remember some instructors that spit out facts for the students to memorize. Where is the fun it that type of teaching? That is when I realized I wanted to make a difference in the future of history!

I also enjoy playing golf and fishing. Golf is a sport that teaches patience and consistency. Without either of those qualities you might as well go beat a tree with a stick and not waste forty dollars. Fishing is very calming to me so I find myself using it as a way to defrag my brain. Sometimes I play a great game of golf and sometimes I catch big fish but what I feel that I am best at is loving my family. I have been blessed with a big heart and lots of love for my wife and children.

My Future Classroom
The classroom can be an intimidating place for anyone. Whether it is a small child starting kindergarten or an adult continuing education later in life, the classroom can be scary. I look forward to providing an environment that encourages discussion from all students and hopefully break down the walls of "boring" history. I hope to teach American History in high school. The reason for choosing high school over middle school is that older children have less interest in history and therefore history classes in college will be more of a challenge. I want to prepare the students for the next level and just maybe impact someone enough that they choose history as a career path and continue to make a difference in the future of history.

I want the students to enjoy learning about history. Keeping the students actively engaged in class is quite a challenge if lecturing all the time. On the other hand if the assignments are reliving history through presentations of their own work and research or through making videos of historical sites they have visited with exciting facts they absorbed from a tour, the students will remember history with much more ease.

Being a history major it may come as a surprise that I do not like to read extensive journals in which the reading level is graduate level or higher. I will not require my students to painfully read through such articles. Students in secondary schools do not like to be bored. Excitement and cutting edge technology will keep them engaged, by allowing the students to have fun with history by presenting it in alternate ways that some historians would scoff at or condemn. Tonight, for example we were trying to get our two year old daughter to eat her dinner and she only wanted her cup. My wife got creative with the presentation of the food and she ate a good bit. Keeping the students engaged is very important and presentation is key.

I have a son that is in seventh grade and he is in what is called the academy at Semmes Middle School. The teachers there are setting the bar at a higher level by assigning projects that encourage the use of technology. It is very important for history professionals to embrace new technology to reach the children. Using resources such as podcasts and virtual tours that the children can access from smartphones, tablets, or portable computers will allow them to access the school work from anywhere without having to miss out on weekend family trips or church trips by staying at home and studying.

Hopefully by the time I reach the classroom portable technology will be much more accessible no matter the economic standing of the student and I will be able to take full advantage of new technology in presenting the curriculum. Smartboards are already in most all classrooms in Mobile county today. Learning will focus around audio visual presentations. The decor of the classroom will be basic due to the fact that most all learning will take place around technology. Classroom bulletin boards will most likely be used to display historical photos for mere decoration.

Randy Pausch
Dr. Pausch mentioned a couple of things that really stood out to me. Dr. Pausch stated that experience cannot be faked. From time to time when I assign a chore to one of our sons, I will inspect the end result. Many times I will discover that they did not have a clue how to do what I asked. Making sure clear instruction is given is key but also expecting it to not be perfect at first is important. I can remember the first time I ever played golf. I was sporting a new branded logo hat, a fresh pair of golf shoes, new clubs, and top of the line golf balls. I looked the part of someone who knew how to play golf, with a warm up swing that could impress Tiger Woods, but when I approached the ball and made the first swing it was evident that I was not an experienced golfer.

Dr. Pausch also talked about "To Do" lists and how it is important to go ahead and knock out the worst task first. This is something I try to practice as often as possible. Sometimes though I have a project that I let loom over my head for days, dreading every moment while I am working on the other tasks. That usually ends up reducing the quality of the easier tasks and by the time I tackle the final project I am a ball of nerves. As an older student I have years of work experience that I can relate to my school work and some positive attributes that help me with projects. I am not perfect and sometimes I choose to put other things before school work to only stress over them at a later date.