Sunday, February 24, 2013

Finding the Right Tool

In the near future I will become a secondary educator of history and or social studies. This semester I am taking geography online here at USA. A few weeks ago one of my assignments was to take a virtual field trip. The site I was linked to had interactive content with progressive links to the next leg of the tour. Along the way I had questions to answer for my assignment. Virtual tours and field trips are one of the many "Right Tools" that I plan to use in my classroom on a regular basis. The website, Teaching History with Technology, had a list of links and sites for virtual field trips and tours. With this tool my students will be able to visit historical locations from their laptops or tablet computers without leaving the school. I will assign these tours as a supplement to help students grasp the topic or location being covered in class.

The Museum of Mobile has a virtual tour, also Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's home, was one of the virtual tours that really impressed me. Using this technology will allow me as a teacher to be creatively affective in using modern technology to keep students interested in history. I would also assign the students into groups to collectively create and assemble their own virtual field trips and tours through using some of the tools that has been mentioned in EDM310 such as, Google Presentations, Prezi, and Pinterest. I really think this tool will be a great addition along with other tools to present history in a fun and exciting way.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Blog Post #6

Technology Connectivism

The Networked Student by Wendy Drexler offered insight into the necessity of being connected. The networking toolbox is bigger than ever. Technology, programs, and apps provide a plethora of connections waiting to be made. As a new student to this world of connectivism, I am amazed already to have a network established through the assignments in EDM310. Soon my network will exponentially increase as each contact will lead to multiple contacts. Soon, if not already, I will have contacts that are already networked with each other. Once my PLN has expanded I will have neighbors that are specialized in one topic, that I am interested or preparing to teach, that I can extend to for resources and ideas, and I will be a source for someone else. I like the point from the Ms. Drexler's video about the tools not really being that significant but the connections made is what is important. I see this like a painting. A piece of art is not about the paint itself, it is about the message and emotion that is displayed in the art.

Car in Pieces

The portion of Ms. Drexler's video on information management is very important. Can you imagine going to an auto dealership to buy a new car and you find that perfect vehicle. You sign all of the appropriate paperwork and cut the check for the down payment. As you walk out with the keys in your hand grinning from the excitement of a more comfortable luxurious ride, you notice a shipping container with your name marked on it. The salesman says "here is your new car the only thing you have to do is assemble it" and there are no instructions. That is how technology can be if not taught to use it properly or guided to the best programs and apps to manage the information to suit your needs. Now I realize just how technologically illiterate I am. This illustration leads me into the main idea of Ms. Drexler's video.

Teacher and a chalkboard

Why do I need a teacher? A teacher is the one who instructs and guides me to effectively use my tool box. Looking at the image above of the car in pieces, with proper instruction I could appropriately assemble that car. Much like our class in EDM310 we are given instruction and are guided to learn in this course of study. How many people have you ever heard say "I have to do it myself to learn." I know I have said it about numerous things but when it comes to classrooms we are programmed to sit in desks and listen to lectures, take notes, memorize facts, and repeat that information. With cram time most of us repeat those facts pretty good and become qualified, on paper, for a career. However, I have insight as an older student from previous work experience, that no matter how much paper education you have, when you get to the job site, you start the learning process over with how to really do the job you were hired for. In a more hands on, self taught, teaching environment we retain the knowledge of performance. A great teacher will provide students with the right tools and the knowledge to use those tools effectively.

Comparing Networks

This example video from a seventh grade student shows how an effective teacher can lead students to develop the modern skill sets to build self motivation through tapping into their creativity. The organization of this student's daily work is amazing. I see where I have vast room for improvement in my own PLN. I believe my blog setup through EDM310 is the foundation for my PLN. Effectively using my blog, twitter, rss reader and bookmarking sites, I can create a hub of communication that filters in the information I want and need and also is the link for others to connect with me as a resource in the future. A virtual desktop that is accessible and mobile with online data drives, and the many networking tools, allows teaching and learning to happen from almost anywhere.

Cyclist carrying a lot of boxes

Jobs are much easier now with technology such as Dropbox, Evernote, and Google Drive.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Blog Post #5

If I Built A School

Wow, Krissy Venosdale's school would be an awesome experience for students. What she described in her blog post was pretty close to the way a lot of college campuses are now or becoming. Just think, if that were applied to elementary and secondary schools how much students would enjoy school. I have three sons that are in school and not one of them enjoy going to school. However, when summer break is nearly over I hear one or two of them make the comment about being ready for school to start. As a parent sending my child to school of the magnitude, that Ms. Venosdale described, would make parenting a little bit easier. Happily involved students produce much better results and outcomes in learning. I know as a college student myself when I enjoy the class and have fun with it I produce much better work.

The concept of a school I would build wouldn't be much different than the one Ms. Venosdale described. As a history educator I may encourage some dramatic presentations that would allow the students to rediscover historical events through living them out in a fun, exciting, and creative way. The concept of allowing the students to progress at a rate suitable to their interest and intellect would provide motivation and more involved students. I can say that fostering students' talents in a field of study that they excel in, would produce higher level students exiting secondary schools. As future educators and administrators developing these future schools is in our hands. If the schools fill up with classrooms developed through technology, it will eventually change the way schools are designed and the way education is administered, or should I say experienced.

Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir

The thoughts that ran through my head after seeing the virtual choir video sparked a conversation, with my wife, about how the technology we have in our hands today was just a creative thought of someone over forty years ago. This past week we joined the world of iPhone users and are excited about Facetime. As our kids were visiting with their grandmother this past weekend we were able to say goodnight face to face. Technology allows me as a dad to say goodnight to my babies while I am doing homework at the library. I know most of you in EDM310 are not yet parents but you will be an educator soon and you will have a classroom full of students that you will build relationships with, and can expand those relationships to their parents by use of technology. A new era of building kids up and tearing down walls of exclusion. That dream school idea starts becoming a reality through your fingertips, LCD screens, and mics. In schools right now educators already have the base set of tools needed to build the schools of the future. What are we doing with those tools?

Teaching In The 21st Century

You have to love Prezi! I used it for the first time for Valentine's Day. Being a frugal student I went cheap for the holiday with a free Prezi since tuition is not free. On to the feature presentation. I think Mr. Roberts, love the name, has nailed down the thoughts for future education. Coupled with the music the presentation was emotionally powerful. I was ready to start building that "Dream School" that Ms. Venosdale talked about. Engaging students through technology is the only way to hold on to them. In a few earlier blog posts I mentioned this same topic, of engaged students, that Mr. Roberts discusses in his presentation. The more I learn through EDM310 the harder it is to imagine how many classrooms are still like the ones in the video Mr. Winkle Wakes.

The ideas we have right now of future education will already be expanded upon or changed radically by the time we graduate. The next big thing (Facebook, Google, Apple) is already in the mind of a student somewhere that is waiting to be unlocked by that creative classroom and teacher. The future is clay in our hands as educators. We are the ones that will be held responsible for providing the environment for the students to proactive not reactive. As a future educator it is a bit scary to think of a society that could be motivated enough to learn on their own. Maybe I won't reach retirement in the school system. Maybe I will have to come back to college in five to ten years to develop my degree into another field to retain my job. Reflecting on the section of Mr. Roberts presentation that talked about where we find information and how we learn. I have Google searched how to change brake pads, how to cook chicken spaghetti, and tips on potty training my two year old daughter. I also have been teaching myself to play the guitar via the internet for the last thirteen years. Technology is endless.

Flipping the Classroom

I like the approach and explanation by Ms. Gimbar in her video about flipping the classroom. Also her FAQ section was very helpful in figuring out how it really works in all situations. As a history teacher I could surely use the flipped classroom. Short video lectures with the nuggets of information about the topics for the week would give the students that background knowledge before fine tuning the details of historical events. It would make test reviews so much easier for the students. What educator wouldn't want to use this idea? I know there are teachers that look at this and think to themselves that it would never work in their school, but teachers in training could put this to use from the beginning and would take some initial setup work, but oh the benefits that this idea will reveal. It will ultimately make the teacher more efficient and the students more receptive. I'm on board!

My Sentence Video

Monday, February 11, 2013

Blog Post #4


In the many resources there was common areas of learning and that was the higher level skills that the children were learning and applying. In using podcast teachers were able to present learning in a new and fun way to the children in which the kids were continuously engaged in the task. Creativity, evaluating, and analyzing were all used in creating a podcast in the Langwitches articles. This higher level thinking takes the students to new heights in education. The main focus of the projects was not to teach the kids about the programs used, but the skills that were tapped into by allowing them to explore new tools used in learning. The read-a-long story book showed how six and seven year old students experimented with their voice by using inflection, fluency, pitch and emotions in telling the story. Having children in that same age group it amazed me at how thorough the students were with that project. Also the fact that a child has to hear a new word used over seventy times before they will retain it and know how to properly use that word, was an amazing statistic that I was unfamiliar with until now. I am excited about using podcasts in my future classoom to reach a new level of learning in history education!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

C4T#1, comment 1 and 2

Pencil Integration Blog

I was assigned to John Spencer's blog and commented on blog post entitled "Remember Pencil Quest?". He discussed an activity from his school days in which they discovered new places and ideas through an activity called Pencil Quest. He pondered the question in his blog of what his students might look back on and consider to be an original unique assignment from school days. I commented and related his activity to history in which I plan to teach. Ideas and activities to keep students involved like this example makes learning fun.

In following back up with my assigned blog, the author had not made a new post. I commented on a previous blog post about the flipped classroom. My input to the author was about our EDM310 class using similar tactics in learning. How we are learning at a guided pace, being provided with resources and direction in which we somewhat work at our own speed. Being responsible for teaching myself gives me a new sense of accomplishment when I complete task well. This type of learning appears to be the face of future education and I am thankful to be a part of it.

Project #5 Presentation

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Special Blog Post #1


WolframAlpha is a great resource that I was not familiar with. Upon completing the search for the populations of India - 1.21 billion, China - 1.35 billion, and the United States - 309 million, there is a vast difference. The growth charts shown in the search results signify that India doubled in population since 1970. Based on the comparison data India will surpass China in total population over the next 10-15 years. Of course with a larger pool of people to pull from there would undoubtedly be more intelligent people as compared to the United States. However, this leads me into the searches I made using WolframAlpha.
I decided to compare the literacy rates of the three countries. In the results of my search I found that the literacy rate percentage of people 15 years of age and older in the United States is at 99%. China comes in a close second with 93.98% and India falling back considerably at 62.75%. With that being said, India's pool just got a little bit smaller. With those figures that brings India down to 759 million that can read which is still more than double the total population of the United States. Let's throw in a "What If" scenario. What if India and the United States had the same population, and considering the literacy rate that would put India at 194 million literate people. So for people to assume that the statistics show that Indian people are more intelligent, is a misunderstanding. This led me to my next search.

I submitted a search to compare the GDP per capita income of the three countries. The United States led with $46,000 per person, China at $3,920, and India at $1,080 per person. This would be the main reason that India falls so far in literacy rate. A lack of resources and finance for education does not provide an ideal learning environment for a vast majority of the population of India. However, considering the low per capita of China, I was surprised to see the literacy rate not affected as much. This could very well be the reason that China has more English speakers than the total population of the United States.

Gary Hayes Social Media Count

This screenshot shows a two minute time frame, which is the average length of a television commercial break. So while you are grabbing a snack, taking a bathroom break, or channel surfing, about 4.5 million likes or comments were made on Facebook.

I read an article in the current issue of NEA Today magazine, that highlighted social media usage in the classroom. As we have been learning in EDM310 so far, technology is the future of education. This article profiled a couple of teachers that make use of many of the social resources that are listed on Gary Hayes social media count and several of the resources that we use in EDM310.

Inevitably as future education degree holders we will have to have the knowledge to use these tools or we will not qualify for jobs upon graduation. Many future educators will also become coaches in high school sports, which in the near future will be embracing the use of technology in the locker room. An article, by The Examiner, explains how NFL teams are using digital playbooks and video on ipads rather than traditional means. The progression of technology will not slow down anytime soon, if ever. As I said in a former blog post, embracing change is imperative as future educators.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Blog Post #3

Peer Editing

Peer editing is a task that very few people enjoy conducting. The first thing I have been guilty of in the past is being "Defensive Dave". Usually criticism of any kind is hard to swallow due to the fact that we have to admit that we are not always the best at everything. Many people are prideful and being criticized can cause them to easily shut down and take constructive criticism totally in a negative manner. The videos and slides, in this assignment, revealed that when introducing idea changes in a positive manner that the suggestions can be received with more ease. Being a 'Picky Patty' or a 'Mean Margaret' comes almost naturally to us and most of the time we do not realize the negative tone we have set in our conversations. Peer editing would be so much easier to perform and accept if it had been taught in elementary school.

I want to thank Paige Ellis for her blog post on peer editing. I too have decided to post by comment on a student's blog because I expect the same from someone else. As the Proverb states iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another, because as classmates we need to look to each other for help in growing and maturing as educators together. When we get into the professional setting at a school it will be very important to embrace the advice from tenured veterans of education. I can think of a several professors that I have had here at USA that I will look to for that constructive criticism.

Assistive Technologies

The Mountbatten braille writer is an awesome tool that changes the student-teacher relationship and also allows the impaired students to participate in peer group activities and projects. For years separate classrooms or even separate schools kept visually impaired children away from other students and the daily classroom environment. Isolated learning probably proved positive as for as intelligence but as far as socially, the impaired children missed out on those opportunities. I have a cousin that is blind and he came through primary and secondary school in the 1980's. Technologies were innovative but nothing like current technology. He was one of those isolated children socially but is extremely intelligent. With equipment like the Mountbatten Braille Writer those children do not have to experience that isolation any longer. As a future educator this machine would also give my classroom the ability to serve all children equally. In the past, lack of knowledge on the teacher's part would prevent proper instruction to visually impaired students but this machine breaks down those barriers. All children deserve the best educational experience possible.

Classrooms can be very intimidating for all children but when learning is compromised by visual impairment, in the ordinary classroom, it can affect the educational experience in negative ways sometimes. I had the opportunity last semester to witness first hand the ipad being used by non-verbal exceptional children. For my EDU400 class I observed students at The Learning Tree, here in Mobile, use the ipad to communicate about classroom task, eating lunch and play activities. I also witnessed one of the instructors training a new student to use his ipad to tell them what he wanted for lunch. I was amazed at how this technology is totally revolutionizing education on all levels.

Math is one of those subjects that is challenging even without an impairment of any sorts. I can't imagine the patience on the students and instructors part to master even elementary level arithmetic. As Art Karshmer explained that a solid math foundation would allow blind students to enter into disciplines such as engineering or even science. The technology that he has help design will provide that opportunity for students interested in math fields. I am sure that ipads are or will be integrated into the math classrooms as well.

Harness Your Students' Digital Smarts

This really puts what we are learning in EDM310 into perspective. One of the things that Vicki Davis said really stuck with me, that limited resources would allow only certain students to excel. Her innovative teaching style is the face of where current classrooms will be in the next few years. As I stated in a former blog post, that students need to be engaged by use of the technology that interest them. The ability to use digital questionnaires such as the one we filled out for EDM310, allow the instructor to gauged the strengths and weaknesses of the students. With this approach it cuts down on the amount of time it takes to produce results from the students.

Davis also said she didn't have to know everything to teach it. Allowing students to say "I don't know, let's find out" empowers them through their own learning experience and gives them to drive to learn more. Pushing the envelope for students maximizes the abilities that the students did not know that they had or could achieve. Davis made the remark about turning the classroom upside-down, and that really says it all. Breaking the binders loose and being innovative opens up another realm of education possibilities.