Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Blog Post #8

Mr Mclung's: What I've Learned This year

I thought Mr McClungs entry to his blog was a very honest reflection of his first year. I like that he was able to admit that he was not perfect and by doing so he will help a lot of future teachers to be better teachers. He also will help to alleviate many of our fears and keep us thinking right. I think I will write in bold letters across my lesson planner "be flexible". I need to remember everyday that it is alright if things don't go as planned. I don't think perfectionism and teaching belong in the same building.
I respect Mr McClung for being truly interested in his students and listening. Being a good listener is crucial if you want to help someone. We all must remember that all children, regardless of age, are just little people and their feelings and opinions do matter. Sometimes they may not have another adult in their lives who will listen. As teachers we don't realize sometimes just how important we can be to our students if we just take the time to listen.
Mr McClungs Blog

Mr McClung Reflects on Year Two

Mr McClung has obviously grown as a teacher this past year. In this post he sounds much more confident and speaks more about teaching styles and methods than he did after the first year. He has had more experience with kids and has learned that you can not teach eight graders the same as you do sixth graders. He experienced the difference in their needs and adapted his teaching style to be effective with his new group of students. He embraced change which he admits is good and makes us better teachers. He talked about delegating jobs to the students which would help teach them to be more responsible and also make his job easier. I like this idea.
He elaborated on what he said in his first year reflection about being flexible when he talked about not being fixed on where a class discussion would lead. He realized that you have to teach kids to think for themselves and leave your own opinions at the door. You must be there to mediate a discussion but you should not influence the opinions of your students but instead let think and learn for themselves through group discussions involving many class opinions.
He also learned a lot about how to present yourself in class. He learned that you must show that you have a passion for what you are teaching for it to be believable no matter what it takes to prove it. He learned that he is not there to look cool and if it takes making himself look silly to capture the interest of his students then that is what he will do. Another important lesson he learned about presenting yourself in the classroom is "no matter how bad things may be, as a teacher you can not let surrounding factors effect how you conduct yourself". It is true, you can not let how other people are effecting you emotionally interfere with your teaching. As a teacher you can not let your emotions control you. What is going on with you is not what is important. The students are what is important.
Mr McClung is beginning to sound like a seasoned professional. He is confident but not so cocky as to think he knows everything. I think that when someone thinks they know everything they are just exhibiting ignorance. Mr McClung realizes that there is always something you can learn from others who have more experience than yourself and that you should listen to them and use what you learn to make yourself better as a teacher. This year as been all about listening, learning, making connections, adapting and changing and it has brought about great professional growth for Mr McClung.

Timeline Of TheThirteen Original Colonies

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Comments for Teachers Summary #1

Morgan Bayda's Adventure
I have so much respect for Morgan and yet at the same time I am so envious. She has just returned from Costa Rica where she has been living off the land and helping to make improvements for the people who live there as well as teach the children. Life there was not easy. There were no comforts of home. They planted and harvested their own food, made their own breads and soaps, and built structures with a method known as daubing which consist of making bricks from a mixture of manure, sand, clay and straw.
Life in Costa Rica was a challenge but very fulfilling. I believe she learned more from the people there than she taught them.
Morgan is a 2009 graduate with a degree in Elementary Education. She was so brave to undertake such an adventure at such a young age. Through her volunteer experiences she adds invaluable credits to her resume and has so much to share with her future students. I wish I could be a student in her class because I know she is going to be a wonderful teacher. Be sure to check out the pictures Morgan has posted on her blog. There is no way for me to describe the beauty of this place or the relationships that developed between Morgan and the people there. A picture is worth a thousand words.
Morgan's Blog

Blog Post #7

Randy Pausch Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams

This is the most inspirational video I have ever watched. It is definitely one that can move you to tears more than one time. There is so much that everyone can learn from Dr Pausch and how he lived his life. As teachers there is also a lot that we can learn. Through his entire lecture he leaves us tips on how to be better teachers even if that was not his intentions.
Dr Pausch talked about reflection. He wanted his students to visually see where they were falling short and to think about these things. He wanted them to analyze their own selves and he felt that through self evaluation that they could readily commit to the changes that would make them better. He also talked about not setting a bar for your students. By setting a "bar" or cap on your expectations your students have a limited goal to reach and few will be challenged to go as far as they are possibly capable of going. He also encouraged freedom of creativity he challenged his students to come up with their own projects with almost no set rules or limits to their creations.
Dr Pausch really believed in having fun. He said that he had fun his entire life and planned to have fun each of his last days. He made a point that students need to have fun. They need to feel a sense of excitement and they need to see people excited about what they are doing. In many of his Virtual Reality classes he left the door open for anyone who was interested in the student's projects to come and watch. He involved the audience in the presentations and the feeling of excitement in the room was compared to that of a football pep rally.He believed that the best way to teach someone was to make them think they were learning something else. "Fake them out" is the way he put it. If they are doing something they enjoy doing and having fun then they will be able to learn the hard stuff without realizing it.
I think Dr Strange may have been faking us out a little with this assignment. He asked us to pay attention to Dr Pausch's teaching techniques but I think he wanted us to get the bigger message to push ourselves and to never give up. Dr Pausch had many inspirational statements that he made that I think should be posted at the beginning of every high school or college handbook. I will include a list of what I feel are his rules to live by. I always want to be able to have these close at hand.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Blog Post #6

This Is How We Dream: Part 1 and 2 by Richard Miller

This Is How we Dream is an informative lecture about how the future of publication is changing. Mr Miller expresses that writing used to be a solitary activity that went on the shelves of libraries or were mailed to people homes to be read or not and tossed aside never to be seen again. He says that we now can work form our lap tops and can research the world to produce documents that can live on forever and be available to anyone and never make their way to the trashcan.
We are now able to collaborate with others to produce documents that contain not only printed material but also material that is stimulating to the visual and auditory senses. We are able to research information that is historical or we can draw from information that is changing on the screen right before our eyes. We can publish our ideas immediately instead of waiting possibly years to get something out in print.
Mr Miller for sees a time when all students will compose with new video technology not just word processors. To make this possible we need to have inspiring and trained teachers to do so. From what I have seen there are some students who are already using this technology. I don't know if this is through skills they have learned from professional teachers or if they have simply taken the initiative to learn it on their own. I personally am not prepared to write with multimedia. I am prepared to learn. I think it is a much better way to share your ideas and is much more effective for capturing the attention of an audience. I look forward to the day that I can do this and would thoroughly enjoy being able to teach my future students how to write this way.

The Networked Student by Wendy Drexler
I did not really understand what it meant to be a networked student until I viewed this video. I now have a better understanding of why Dr strange has had us create our own PLn's. They are not only to help us be better students but also for us to be better teachers. They will help us teach our students to be more successful learners.
a networked student understands how to use the web and is motivated to explore and seek out information. He must be inquisitive and willing to ask questions. He must also be organized. He must also be organized. A networked student knows how to develop a PLN to organize his research sources so that they can be easily accessed when he is creating documents of his own.
A networked student reaps the benefits of all other networked students who have come before him by being able to access the research that they have already spent time doing just by accessing their bookmarks and vice versa other students can learn form the research legacy that he leaves behind. Sharing information will allow us to further our knowledge by building on each others work.
Even though all of the information that a student needs may be able to be found on the internet without need for text books or teacher lectures, students still need teachers. Teacher are motivators. So few students will motivate themselves without a lesson plan and someone to hold them accountable. Teachers are also needed for guidance. Information can be misinterpreted and there needs to be a teacher with knowledge and experience to help determine between good and bad information. Also, how is a student to learn to use the internet effectively and to develop a PLN without a teacher to help him do so. I think teachers should not be treated by the age of technology. They must be prepared to use it effectively in their classrooms. The role of a teacher is changing so we must be prepared to change too. I like the way Dr. Strange said that he is not a teacher but that he is a coach. I do not want to stand in front of a classroom and pour information down the throats of my students. I would like to guide or coach them in their own quest so that the learning does not stop with my classroom but can continue on as long as the student has a thirst for knowledge.

Michael Wesch Toward A New Future of Whatever

I think the word "whatever" has now become the epitome of laziness. It is also self centered and shows that you don't care enough to be bothered with the opinions or concerns of others which leads us to a greater realization of narcisism. Just as many of the contestants on American Idol are narcistic so are much of today's younger generation. It is all about me is the consensus of many. I guess this propels many into pursuing their dreams and maybe realizing more of them than the generations that have come before. So, in a way being narcistic is a good thing.
I myself have not been able to be narcistic in many years. For the majority of the last 15 years I have had to set myself aside and put the needs of others first and for most. As I sit here writing this today that has not changed too much. My decision to go back to school and become a teacher was primarily for the benefit of my children. I want to be available to them. I want to be there when they are out of school and I want to be able to offer them more by making more money.
There are also some self centered reasons for being a teacher. I will get to enjoy being with my kids more. I will have more time off and hopefully not worry as much about money and I will enjoy being able to give to them. I don't know that I could call this narcistic but it is for me.
I believe that as a teacher my primary duty is to the student. The student comes first but in order to do the best by my students I must put myself out there and strive for greater achievements. I must focus on myself and get comfortable with myself being seen by others. I can totally relate to the people making the awkward YouTube videos because I have been there and done that. I'm not comfortable watching myself on video and I must overcome this. I'm sure all of this will come in time and I hope to be able to guide others in expressing themselves to the world.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Developing My PLN

It seems that I have spent a great deal of time trying to figure out how to create a PLN page with little success. I think I have finally come to understand that I already have much of what I need on My blog page and on my igoogle page. What I need to do is get it all organized into one place but at this point I still don't know how. Hopefully I will resolve this tomorrow. At this point I am using delicious to bookmark my favorite educational web pages and blog sites. These will include the EDM310 class blog, Cool Cat Teacher, Getting Smarter With Smart Boards, Anthony Capps Blog, Alana Carpenter's Blog, Room 10 Pt England School, The Fischbowl Blogspot, and Morgan Bayda's blog.I am also including my social networks such as Twitter and Facebook and sites such as YouTube. I am really excited about having my own PLN. I know it will help me to get organized and save my a lot of time in the long run by putting much needed information at my fingertips.

Blog Post #5

Smartboards: Are They a Smart Idea or a Dumb Initiative?

Michael Stanton's, Why Smartboard Are a Dumb Idea and Bill Ferriter's, Why I Hate Interactive Smartboards, are both opinionated attacks on the validity of the usefulness of smartboards. They both express that smartboards do not improve learning nor do they give kids an interactive learning invironment. Mr Ferriter says that smartboards do little more than replicate traditional teaching methods. They both lable them as expensive gadgets that are only used to impress but are not cost effective. I think that these guys must not have done there research on what is offered for the smartboard.
I found a blog called Getting Smarter With Smartboards. This blog includes endless numbers of links to downloads for teachers to use on their Smartboards. Eventhough I have never used one, I can see that they are a very interactive tool and I cannot help but think that those who are opposed to them are wrong. They are colorful, innovative, and captivating. I can see that they would capture and hold the interest of students making teaching more effective and learning fun. Getting Smarter With Smartboards

EDM310 For Dummies and The Chipper Series

Jamie Lynn and Dr strange did a really great job on the Chipper Series. It makes you feel really bad about not getting things in on time. I guess everybody has excuses but we just have to work harder not to use them. I myself have unexpected difficulties and am struggling to keep up. I WILL get all my work up to date because I want to learn something from this class. What we are learning is too important not to do it right.
I also love the EDM310 for Dummies video. I can completely relate to the feeling of frustration and wanting to throw the keyboard at something. I was right there a few hours ago and will probably go there again before the end of the semester but I will persevere. I will not be defeated and I will use the manual and support system to help me along the way.

A Video I would Like to Make

Funny that this question is presented now. I was just saying to my fourteen year old son that I would like to make a video with him about his experiences with Smartboards in the classroom. We would discuss the ways in which he thinks they were effective for him and also the things that he did not like about them. I think it would be very beneficial to get a students perspective in order for us to learn how to use them more effectively.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Comments For KIds Post #1

For my assigned podcast I observed a 3rd year student named Christian talking about Earthquakes. I could tell she was a little nervous at first but she got right to the points she wanted to make and was very precise and informative. By making podcast this young she will not be so nervous in the future.
I noticed as I watched other podcast made by the children from the Pt. England School in New Zealand that the children are mature and do a good job on their assignments. They all seemed very interested in the books they were reading and were enthusiastic about sharing the books with the world. They really take school seriously and want to do a good job . Maybe this is because learning is made interesting with the use of technology to enhance regular assignments such as book reports. I think this should be applied in every school.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

My Timetoast for Disney


The value of podcast in our society is vast. Podcast help make resources available to anyone with a computer. They also allow the producer access to a limitless number of listeners and can allow listeners a place to give feedback to the producer and other audience members. Through the use of sound so much more can be conveyed than can be through written words. Emotions emitted through the inflections of the human voice can be much more compelling and interesting than reading.
I sensed excitement both from the people making the podcast and from those listening to them. Podcast are definitely a great way to get students more engaged in what they are learning. The educational material available through podcast offers the student a great amount of resources through which to gain knowledge.

The Practical Principles
This resource site consist of educators from various places in the country. They come together to share things that they have learned. They also podcast information gathered in conferences and workshops they have attended. Some of these are even live streamed. The principals noted that there were as many people participating in the conferences via the web as there were physically attending.
These podcast make it possible for people from all around the world to reap the benefits of the educational conferences that they could not attend. This is good for the conferences in that they can convey their ideas to more people without being overwhelmed by so many physical participants. A convention center or meeting hall can only hold a certain number of people but the web has no limit.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Blog Post #3

Don't Teach Your Kid's This Stuff. Please? By Dr. Scott Mcleod

Dr. Scott Mcleod is an Education professor at the University of Iowa. He heads a Continuing Education Program that prepares school superintendents to bring their districts into the 21st century.
I believe Dr. Mcleod is spot on about what we must do. He uses sarcasm to get his point across clearly that we must teach our kids about technology. If you take a look around it is easy to see that there are dangers all around us. If we send our kids outside to play they may get stung by a bee our fall off the swing but we still allow them to go play. We get in our cars each day with danger lurking at every intersection but we still drive, for that matter, we teach our kids to drive so they can be subjected to even more dangers of the road. They have little skills or experience to help get them from point A to point B but we do it anyway. In today's society we must learn to drive in order to thrive and it's no different with technology. We must teach our kids and guide them on how to properly drive in our techno world as well as the highways and byways if they are to be expected to keep up and make it in our ever changing world.
I have a 14 year old son and until about two months ago he knew more about the computer than I did. I finally have surpassed him and plan to keep it that way for as long as possible. I think that as adults we are so busy that we don't have the time to spend on the computer as our kids do and they pass us up in the technology. We are their teachers and we can't expect them to learn from us about the opportunities available through technology nor how to use them properly if we don't know things that they don't. Teachers must prepare themselves to teach for the future.

The ischool Initiative

I think this student did a fabulous presentation and it is a great idea but there are many roadblocks to consider. The primary limitations would come through limited parental interaction. Many parents would have to be educated on how to use the technology and it would need to be mandatory to have parental interaction or some authority figure to hold the student accountable for this to work with all students. Also, what about the monthly fees for access to these services? The itouch is a valuable item and could easily be sold, traded or stolen. How could each student be held accountable for his itouch? This would be alot of pressure on a child.
I think interactive classrooms on home computers similar to our EDM310 class would be more realistic to start with. Every school could have an online school like the one at South. It would be great to have access to the applications he showed us on the itouch. It would take a linking of various technologies but I think it could be done and would greatly benefit our students and our environment in the long run.

The Lost Generation

Wow! What a ride and an eye opener. I have been on the first part of this video. I have worked seven days a week leaving little time for my family. I have missed many of the special things that my first two children did when they were little because I was not there and the business always came first. This is time I can never get back. In our fast paced competitive society sometimes you have to work that hard to compete and survive but I can tell you first hand that money is not everything and I am now trying to live this video in reverse just the way they reversed the script. I had to make a complete career change at the age of 40 for this to be possible. I do not know how to get employers who are "hell bent" on beating the competition and staying on top, always wanting more from their employees at the expense of the employees family, to accept this change in thinking. I do think that in some cases by working smarter and making use of the technological tools we have available to us that we may be able to work our way back toward the beginning of this video and live in a world where families come first.

Eric Whitaker's Virtual Choir

I think the use of technology in the video is amazing. I know that there are rock bands currently producing records and the members of the band are all recording individually from different states and never play together in the same room. While this is amazing and it allows for people to create musical works that otherwise would not be possible it is sad at the time. I am a singer who has performed with choirs small and large and there is such a feeling of unity when you are in a room singing together.It is a sense of achievement that you can celebrate together. From this video I feel a sense of solitude and loneliness. Imagine getting married over the internet and not getting to be with your partner to kiss the bride or groom or to celebrate with a honeymoon. Musical creation requires such a personal connection that I think it is lacking when people are removed from each other.I think that linking people together through technology is a beneficial thing but it has its limits.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Blogpost 2

Michael Wesch: A Vision for Students Today

This video shows that students are bored and fed up with studying things that do not matter in their lives. Today's teaching methods need to incorporate the media elements that are relevant in student's lives. Today's world is very complicated so classes need to include current issues and concerns to keep students interested. Teachers have to start living in the technological world that their students are in to effectively teach.

It's Not About the Technology

I agree that technology is not the number one issue. It is an important tool but it must be in the hand of innovative teachers. Teachers cannot be stagnant. Our teachers must be perpetual learners in order to be effective teachers. The big question is how do we motivate teachers to learn? There are so many teachers out there riding out their tenures that don't care about using new methods in there classroom or they are just comfortable with their old habits and don't like change. How do we initiate new policies that require teachers to change? Something needs to be done soon. I don't have the answers now but if someone doesn't make changes then I guess they'll just have to wait for me to get there.
Not the technology

Karl Fisch: Is it Okay to be A Technologically Illiterate Teacher?

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading Mr Fisch's thoughts and watching his videos. I don't think his opinions are too bold. I have thought for many years that there are too many stagnant teachers who are afraid of change and our children are paying the price. We entrust our school systems to educate our children for the future but so many of our teachers are living in the past. What can be done on a legislative level to ensure that the teachers of today are motivated to learn? There is so much "red tape" involved in tenure it is hard to get rid of the bad teachers so that we can get the good ones. Changes have to be made in the system.To the Fischbowl

Gary Hayes Social Media Count

The changes in the number of people using all aspects of social media are too fast to even keep track of. This fact tells me that as a future educator I have to be willing to change with the times. I must be familiar with all the media tools that are available and be willing to learn about new media as it is innovated. I cannot expect to be a valuable teacher if I can't prepare my students for the future and I will not be able to this if I am not prepared for it myself.Media Counter

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Assignment 1 Blog Post

Did You Know?

I almost wish that I didn't know but unless you can live the majority of the rest of your life as a recluse holed up in the woods, how can you afford not to learn. Our technological world is changing so rapidly that it can make your head spin. America must be prepared for change. America has already fallen behind China and India and we must work harder to get back on top. We cannot be complacent. We must spend more time educating ourselves and our children about our technological world not just the 3 R's. We cannot wait and we must learn to expect more from ourselves instead of just assuming we are the most advanced nation in the world because everyday we fall further behind.

Mr Winkle Wakes

Mr Winkle Wakes is a slap in the face for all America to feel. Wake up everyone! This video shows that our schools which are supposed to represent our future are living in the past. They must change because the world around them already has. It is sad to think that there is so much technology available but our school systems are not bringing to our children. We must change our teaching methods so that future generations will be able to compete in the future not in the past. What we are doing is not working.

Sir Ken Robinson:The Importance of Creativity

The point that Sir Ken Robinson is trying to make is that creativity is as important as literacy. I completely agree that creativity has been dampened in schools especially here in Alabama where they are continually cutting back on programs that thrive on creativity. Somewhere in my childhood coloring inside of the lines must have been really pounded into my head. Either that or I was really reprimanded for making mistakes because by the time I was in the seventh grade I was scared to death of making mistakes. I even developed a terrible case of stage freight that I live with everyday even though I really can sing. I lost the preparedness to be wrong and became frightened every time I put myself out there to make mistakes others could witness. Just in the last eight years have I learned to take a risk and be creative. It is still very difficult but when I am successful it gives me such a sense of self confidence. I never want my children to lack confidence or hold back on their dreams because their creativity has been hindered. We need to find a way to incorporate creativity into every aspect of learning. I fully believe that learning will be greatly facilitated and children will be more motivated to learn if they are allowed to be freely creative. The Pace program in the Mobile County Public School System uses this teaching method. I have two children who are Pace kids. My now 9th grade son was diagnosed as "ADHD" in the 3rd grade. He became involved in Pace and immediately became a straight A student and in two years he was medication free. He is still a self motivated straight A honors child and I think the way Pace approaches teaching helped get us there. Unfortunately this program is only offered to a select group who score high enough to get in. Also it is only offered one day a week in elementary school. If the Pace methods were applied in regular class settings I believe that all children would excel.

Vicki Davis: Harness Your Student's Digital Smarts

Children learn through a variety of teaching methods. More hands on methods need to be applied in the classroom. All children need to experience and become comfortable with technology so that they can be connected to an infinite number of sources through which they can learn. All teachers need to challenge children to think and make the tools of technology available and allowable. Put them in groups to learn and to teach each other and they will be able to learn more than if limited to their own thinking. Teach them learning without boundaries and the World will be their limit.


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Welcome all to my very first blog!

This is really stepping out of my comfort zone. Even the picture felt kind of like a mug shot as we were placed one by one up against the wall to have them made. I'm usually the one behind the camera not in front of it! I'm usually pretty quite and keep things to myself so I'm going to have to work really hard to open up and share my thoughts with the world. This sort of self conscientiousness is not a trait I like about myself and I wish I were more open. I hope this class will teach me to be more outspoken. Maybe I can call it my therapy. People pay a lot of money for that.