Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Blog Post #6 Randy Pausch's Last Lecture

famous quote by Randy Pausch

Randy Pausch's Last Lecture 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 the way that Dr Pausch lived his life. As teachers there is also a lot that we need to 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 and critique themselves 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 for 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 so it was his practice to challenge his students to come up with their own projects with almost no set rules or limits to their creations.
Dr Pausch believed that having fun was very important.  He said that he had fun his entire life and planned to have fun each of his last days. I think that he accompished this. He was teaching until his last days. He was doing what he loved to do and it was fun. 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. I can't believe that I had never heard of Randy pausch before taking an educational media class. I think as teachers we owe it to our students to share his inspiration with them. If you have not watched this video, please take the time, by doing so you will add some meaningful content to your life.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Blog Post #5: Asking Questions

children in a classroom raising their hands to answer a question from the teacher

Asking the right questions is an essential element to being an effective teacher. The right kinds of questions, asked in the right way and with the proper timing encourage different thought processes leading the students to a better understanding of the material they are to learn. How do we ask the right question? Let's start with things that we should not do. After we finish a lecture we should not ask the students if they understand. Either only a few will answer or the majority of them are going to answer yes just because it is what they think yiu want to hear. Getting a yes answer to this question does not get a teacher off the hook of responsibility by assuming that the students know the material just because they say that they understand. If we must ask a yes/no question then it should be followed up by a "why" question. We should not ask the questions at the end of a lecture. It is better to present open ended thought provoking questions at the beginning or early part of a lecture encourages deeper thought throughout the lecture. Don't be predictable in your method of questioning. Vary the way you call on students to answer questions and always pause after asking the question to give the entire room a chance to come up with an asnswer of their own before you pick someone. One method some teachers use is to ask the question then wait until everyone in the room signals that they know the right answer before choosing someone. Another thing to avoid is leading questions. Leading questions give up too much information trying to direct a student to and answer. When asking questions a teacher should always listen attentatively to a students answers so they know they are important. A teacher should also provide feedback as to what parts of the question was right or wrong. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Blogpost #4: How Has Teaching and Learning Changed?

the words technology and innovation written on a blackboard

       How has teaching changed since I was in school? EVERYTHING has changed. At least, there exist the possibilities and opportunities for things to change. Of course this is directly related to the training a teacher has and her willingness to break out of the box and take on the challenge.
       I went to primary and secondary school in the 1970’s and 1980’s. I came back to college in January of 2010. I had a lot of catching up to do in this new world of technology that I was now swimming in. I was capable of running my retail POS program at work. I could surf the net but did not realize that there was any tool other than Internet Explorer to do this with. I was a rookie at social sites such as MySpace and Facebook. I realized that if I was going to be a teacher in today’s classroom that I had a lot to learn and that I was going to have to change my views of what teaching is. I could not have a vision of my future as a teacher based on any of my previous classroom experiences.
       When I was in school nearly every class that I can remember was 100% lecture based. The only regular deviation from this was my science classes that included labs. This is probably one of the reasons that science was always my favorite subject and the reason why I have chosen it for my teaching career. Before I learned anything about PBL, I described science classes as fun to teach and participate in because the kids get to go to labs and put their hand on something tangible that ties together visually what they have been learning. If all classes were like this I think failure rates would greatly improve. Now I’ll take you back to my classroom experience in all classes but science lab. Teachers wrote on blackboard with chalk. Rarely did you see a dry erase board and a Smartboard was not even a notion. We had no computers in the classroom. I do remember a computer lab but that was essentially to learn the basics of DOS. Windows did not exist. Teachers lectured. They might occasional borrow a DVD player from the library to show a movie. They even had to borrow overhead projectors to use transparencies to enhance their lectures. We thought transparencies were high-tech. We wrote a lot of term papers, did a lot of oral presentations with posters for visual aids and took a lot of tests based on lecture material. I only remember I collaborative project in which I was teamed up with one other student to present a research paper. We did use music to enhance our presentation and we passed around photos for the students to look at.
       Teachers today have so many tools at their disposal to make teaching better. iCurio, Discovery Ed, Brain Pop, youtube, technology based interactive games plus endless other choices help to make the learning experience interesting. PBL is another step up to make it even better. With PBL your resources are only as limited as your imagination. PBL takes the chore out of learning core standards. Students get to explore, use their imaginations, have fun with technology that they already love to use and in the end learn without even realize that they are learning.
       I had the opportunity to talk to a seasoned teacher today about PBL and I asked her if she was using it in her classroom. She told me that they did projects but only after teaching the standards and only as a way for the students to show what they had learned. I asked her why she did not use them to teach the standards instead of only at the end. She told me that PBL would never work as a means for teaching standards because different students learn in different ways and that there would be no way for them all to be able to learn what they needed to know from PBL. My question is how do we get teachers on board with PBL? I wanted to convince her that PBL does work but I just didn’t know how.  This teacher has a 97% proficiency rating and is considered an innovative teacher. My other question is; how can all teachers, in all schools take advantage of all of these great teaching tools and implement them into using PBL if the basic implements are not provided in his or her classroom by the school system. Inequality in what is available to our teachers and students seems to be a major problem for us as teachers to move forward and use all of this wonderful information and skills that we are learning her in the EDM 510 class. It is great that Anthony has so many resources that he can use and that he has wonderful administrators that allow him the freedom to use his talents to conduct his classroom by using PBL. This brings me to my next question: are all administrators ready for teachers to use PBL? Are they going to give their teachers the freedom that Anthony has? How does a teacher go about creating this kind of change in her school and the way traditionalist think?
       I tried to use ALEX to find appropriate standards for writing this essay. I do not feel that I ever found anything satisfactory. I could go to courses of study, choose Language Arts, then choose grade 12 and scan for standards or lessons. I found information on writing essays but not essays for blogs. The only thing that I found that gave any instruction on writing a blog was a link to readwritethink.org. All that it contained was a brief and basic blogging information sheet about what a student could do with a blog and proper blog etiquette. It definitely does not contain appropriate standards for writing and essay for a blog.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

C4T My Choice Derrick Williams comments 1-4

The teacher that I have chosen to follow is Mr. Derrick Willard whom is, as quoted from his blog, Tearing Down Walls, “the Assistant Head of School for Academic Affairs and a science teacher at Providence Day School in Charlotte, NC. He has been integrating social media applications as instructional tools for the last five years, as well as piloting classes employing iPad2 tablets for the last three years”.

Comment #1
The first post that I read, from Feb 08, 2014, was about how using a little Idea paint can change the whole perspective of a classroom. One of his teachers used the paint to cover two of his four walls making them white boards where the students can share ideas. The teacher describes the result as “Teaching from what would typically be considered the back or side of the room shifts the sense of student and teacher space. The boundary or line of demarcation between the two kinds of space blurs. The walls feel more collaborative as a result giving the students added willingness to write in a space that hasn’t been claimed or identified as teacher (or teacher permission requisite) space. Unlike the whiteboards on the opposite walls of the room, these writing surfaces seem less confined given that take up the entire wall. Instead of being bound in frames and placed at the traditional front of the room, the white walls provide a more inviting writing surface that students have already used to write up whatever they might like to share with a classroom audience. The fixed quality of the white walls lends a special sort of credibility to whatever happens to be written there. Students seem more willing to share their ideas on the board and more willing to respond to one another’s writing on the wall next to some earlier comment or idea.”
I commented that I thought it gave the students freedom of expression as a graffiti artist has on the city walls and that now the classroom was their canvas.  The walls can be used like a Facebook wall for science or whatever subject that the teacher is teaching. Students are already communicating daily in that manner so it should be easier for them to feel comfortable writing on the class walls.

Comment #2
Mr. Willard’s blog post from 9/23/2013 on the iPad pilot classes.
I commented that I think that the 1:1 program that he is initiating in his school is a great program for developing digital literacy and global citizenship and that I would love to see our school system in South Alabama implement a similar program but, unfortunately, we are only just breaking into the digital scene. I told him that this year many of our schools have initiated a program where the students can bring their own devices to class and use them on the “my own devices” internet for in class work. But not all of the students have devices and some may not even have internet service at home. I also told him that I have big plans as a teacher to create a blog for my students where I can post lessons, class projects and informative videos and I would also like the students to be able to share what they are doing with the rest of the world. I wanted to know how they used technology like before implementing the 1:1 program. I asked if he survey the students to see who had internet access at home and did he provide computer lab time for students before or after school? I let him know that there are so many things I want to do but right now limited resources seems to pose the biggest problem. I told him that I would love to hear his thoughts and know the steps that he took to get to where he is now. Me Willard replied back and told me that he had a mentor from Canada when he was in college that he has still never met and that he wanted to help me in any way that he could. We have had additional correspondence about the EDM510 class and he is very interested in what we are doing. I believe he will be an asset to our program in the future.

Comment #3
In his blog post form Aug 20, 2013, Mr. Willard writes about the importance of establishing good relationships between students and teachers. He is reminding new teachers that the first day of school and into the first two weeks is the time to build trust and let the students know that you really care about them because “students don’t care what you know until they know that you care”.
My comment was: “I completely agree with you about the importance of building relationships between students and teachers. I think that a teacher’s job encompasses so much more that just relaying information to students. Students need mentors and confidants that they can confide in and trust. Some students may even lack someone like this at home and a teacher is an adult that can fill that role.  A teacher must be someone who loves kids, not just conveying knowledge to others.  I just finished an assignment for another education class in which we had to write first day of school lesson plans. My entire first day revolved around getting to know my students and letting them get to know me as well as letting them know what I expect of them. I also let my students know that I am willing to work hard for them if they are willing to also put in the effort. I want my students to see our class as a team of learners so they do not feel intimidated and so they are motivated to do their best.”

Comment #4
Mr. Willard’s post was about his upcoming trip to China aimed at strengthening their New Oasis program which they are a partner with China. The vision of the New Oasis Company is “a world of learning, a place where society is empowered to change international education, study abroad and cultural exchange for the better”.
I commented that I was excited to have a connection with him and was looking forward to hearing about what he learns. He was particularly interested in writing about the differences that he observes between Chinese and American Education. I think that this is a fascinating subject and cannot wait to see what he has to say about the differences and to see if there is anything that he feels we should be doing more like China.

C4T Revolving #'s 1-4

Comment #1
Blog post was about an app to use on the whiteboard called Coachnote.  Coach Robinson, in his blog The PE Geek, uses this tool to incorporate tech into his P.E. classroom. The students can draw over a picture of the gym or a plying field, whatever the coach puts up. This allows them to set up teams and plays so that the players are clear about have a game is supposed to be set up before they actually go out to play.
I commented to Coach Robinson that since I have a degree in biology I am not familiar with teaching P.E. classes but the use of this great tool might even make it clear to me what I should do if I was filling in for you. Kids love using technology and will jump at the chance to “play” on the Whiteboard. I think you have found the perfect way to incorporate technology into your P.E. classroom. This is an effective, interactive visual that will make instruction by you more efficient and the students will love it.

Comment #2
This blog post was from Trails Optional by Jen Deyenberg and was about a chatroom tool called Today’s Meet which she used for backchanneling. Backchanneling is a “chatroom” where students can type in questions, concerns, or comments. The teacher sets up the room and sets the time limit for it to be open. The chat was used for an open classroom discussion about the current lesson they had covered that day in class.
I commented that this is my first semester in Education so I am not very familiar with a lot of the terminology that teachers use. Before reading your post, I had no idea what backchanneling was. I think that Today’s Meet is a great tool. I think many kids are more comfortable typing what they think than they are speaking vocally in front of a class. This tool may help to draw some students into a classroom discussion than would be in a traditional setting. I am curious as to whether this tool is used exclusively in classroom discussions or can you use it as part of homework and continue your discussions after school hours? If you do this, so all of your students have at home internet access and if not how do you handle this?

Comment #3
This week I read a post in the blog, 2 Cents Worth of seeking the Shababuku, by David Warlick.  The first thing that I was compelled to do was to find out what Shababuku meant. I found out that it is the practice of correcting another's false views and awakening that person to the truth. It is traditionally referrining to the truth of Buddhism but is apllied here as a generak concept to awaken knowledge about the value of using technology in the learning environment. The blog post written on Feb 20, 2014 was about a conference that Mr. Warlick was part of with the American School of Bombay in their un-plugged event in Mumbai, India. The conference was on using info-graphics and data visualization to expand the learning environment of a student.

This is the comment that I wrote before realizing that I was not allowed to leave a comment on the blog:
Hi Mr. Warlick, my name is Allison Sells and I am a graduate student at the University of South Alabama seeking an alternative masters in Education.  I am enrolled in EDM510 and am to read and comment on the blog of a teacher that has been assigned to me. I will be summarizing my visits to your blog on my own blog by March 4th. Here is a link to my blog. First of all, I love your definition of literacy. Literacy encompasses so much more than reading and writing. It must also involve being able interpret your environment whether it be audible or visual and use all of your skills to become informed of what it is that you need to accomplish. I think it is fascinating that you are able to be part of a global community of learners involved in sharing what you have learned to create a better world for the students of today and tomorrow. I believe that being and innovative teacher who is willing to use the vast resources available via the Internet to expand the opportunities that her students may have is critical in today’s world. Many students may not have the opportunity to travel the world as you have done but by being connected to your thought and the thoughts of others like you they get to experience a global education. I am really looking forward to your future post on the conference and hearing about things that you may have learned that will be useful to teachers in their classrooms.

Comment #4

Mr. Warlick wrote a blog post in 2 Cents worth of Seeking the Shakabuku that included ten tips for attending NCTIES conferences. While most of his comments were aimed at being satirical and the blog was most amusing, he did offer the good advice to come in comfortable clothes with a thirst for knowledge and a desire to meet new people. I was driven to find out what NCTIES stood for because I did not know what he was talking about. On their web page it says that the NCTIES is a membership association for educators and educator leaders engaged in advancing excellence in learning and teaching through the effective use of technology.  I would like to become a part of this group and attend a conference in the future after I become a teacher and can better put what I learn to use in my classroom. If I could comment on his blog, I would have to thank him for his advice and I would let him know that I would bring a huge bag for all the freebies at the exhibit hall and I would be sure to wear my fuzzy horse slippers. I think he would enjoy the humor. 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

C4K #1, #2 & #3 Blog Post and Comment Summaries

C4K #1
Student #1
Jordan is in the 4th grade and he wrote a short blog about his cousin’s birthday party at the Kids Zone. He played chasing with his cousin which is the same as tag here in the U.S.
This was my comment for Jordan:
Hi Jordan, my name is Allison and I am a college student at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama, USA.  I am taking a media class and I am learning how to blog just like you. This is a link to my blog http://sellselizabethedm310.blogspot.com/.  Please feel free to visit and comment if you would like to. It looks like you are already doing a great job on your blog. I think that it is great that you and your classmates get to have a blog of your own. I am studying to become a teacher and I would love for my class to have a blog just like yours does. 
From your story, I can tell you had a lot of fun at your cousin’s birthday party. Here in the U.S. kids play tag and the one who has to catch the other kids is “it”. I always hated being “it”, just like you. I think that it is funny that children in the U.S. and in Ireland play the same game but it is called by a different name. Football is a very popular game here in the U.S. Do you play football in Ireland? What are some of your favorite games to play?
Keep up all of the great work that you are doing on your blog and in your class. I look forward to reading more of your work in the future.

C4K #2
Student #1
John is in Mrs. Rueter’s class 5/6 grade. He is a competitive skier and wrote his blog about his training and racing schedule.  
I told him that I am from the Gulf Coast and I don’t know anything about skiing and that if it even starts to snow here that they close the schools and the whole town shuts down. I wanted to know if in a ski race he is racing against a clock or is he actually racing against another skier? Also, I wanted to know if he is on one ski or two. I told him that ski racing sounds really fun and dangerous and I wanted to know how fast he actually went.  I told him that hopefully one day if he keeps practicing we will be watching him in the future Winter Olympics and to keep up the good work.

Student #2
Giselle is in Mrs. Gelde’s 4th grade class  Her blog was about her birthstone. She made an image with Tellagami of her and a piece of jewelry with peridots in it.
I told her that the peridot is one of my favorite birthstones because lime green is my favorite color and that I liked it a lot better than my birthstone which is purple. I told her that I really liked her Tellagami and I had never heard of that before so  she taught me about something new. I told her that am going to have fun making Tellagamies of my own and may even put one on my blog.

Student #3
Jimtom is in Mrs. Miller’s 3rd block 10th grade class. His blog was comparing text to film. 
I let Jimtom know that I am taking the same media class that his teacher took and that I am learning how to blog just like he is.  I told him that think blogging is a really cool way to do an assignment for class. I commented that I wished that the questions were written in the blog along with the answers so that I would understand more clearly what he was answering but that I think I figured it out. I told him that I also like film a lot but that I often find that books are better because they give you so much more detail. Movies have to cut out a lot of stuff so that they are not too long. I suggested that I the best thing to do is to read the book and then watch the movie because then you have all the details and still get to experience all the action. Sometimes this can be a letdown because the book can be so much better than the movie and it makes the movie seem to be no good at all. I encouraged him to keep up the good blogging.

C4K #3
Student #1
Tevin is a student in Ms. Miller’s 10th grade English class. In this blog he wrote a short story about himself.
Tevin writes about being a football player and about clowning around in class and getting in trouble. He really wants to do better and get his grades up. I commented that I admired his determination and drive and that if he wants something bad enough that he can do it. I gave him some suggestions about how to use music to help him study because he says that music pushes him to work harder. I think that if he keeps blogging about what he is thinking and feeling that it will help him get on track and his grades will come up. I shared this with him and told him to keep up the good work.

Student #2
Tristan is a student in Mrs. Long’s 10th grade class. Tristan’s blog post is about the positive and negative effects of marijuana and whether or not it should be legalized. He seems to have done some research on the subject and has some very mature opinions.
His topic topic caught my attention and I was really interested in what he had to say. He made a lot of good points for and against marijuana. I asked him if he knew that if marijuana was legal the U.S. government could not only save all of the money that they spend fighting to get it off the street but they could also tax it just like they do cigarettes and make a small fortune. I agreed with him that it has a therapeutic function and that it does a lot of good for the people who need it. I also said that it is also probably a lot safer than a lot of prescription drugs that are on the market and are legally prescribed and abused every day but unfortunately there are many people in this world who will abuse just about anything and that makes it hard for the government to make it legal. I also said that I think that one day it will be legal across the U.S. for medical purposes. He did not give his opinion so I asked him if he thought it should be legal or not.

Student #3
Jalah is a student at Bode Middle School in St Joseph, Mo and is in the 7th grade. She wrote a blog post that was an argumentative writing on Athens versus Sparta and she chose Sparta as her champion.

I told her that I am learning to blog just like her and I think that it is great that her teacher has set up a blog for her class. I told her that it is really cool that she is learning to write an argumentative paper and that they are always my favorite ones to do because I love trying to convince someone that I am right. I hoped that she had fun while writing this one and that it’s pretty awesome to have fun while learning something! Lastly, I told her to keep up the great work!

C4T Semester assigned:"Teacher Reboot Camp" Ms Shelly Terrell, comments 1-4

Comment #1
My teacher to follow is Shelly Terrell. In the first post that I read from Feb 7, 2014, Ms Terrell shared 20+ Web tool and Apps that encourage learning by students through drawing and coloring. These tools are designed for students of various ages and teachers can choose the ones that will be appropriate for the age of the students that they are teaching. Ms. Terrell offered valuable resources that I know I will be happy to have in the future when I have my own classroom. I have subscribed to her newsletter and plan to follow her as long as she is blogging.

Comment #2
This post, from Feb 11, 2014, was about encouraging your students to commit random acts of kindness. Throughout the post Ms Terrell provided a vast number of technical links for creating and sharing kindness. These links included:   an online Acts of Kindness advent calendar, Padlet or LinoIt for a sticky wall,  Popplet for brainstorming ideas,  Buncee, Smore, Biteslide, Glogster, or Blendspace for creating posters, Garage Band or Audacity for creating poscasts,  and StorybirdZooburstFotobabble, or Little Bird Tales for creating digital stories.  I have used some of these tools before, but most were new to me. I am creating great new additions to my PLN from many of the tools that she has shared.

Comment #3
This post, from Feb 17, 2014,  is about teaching with Instagram. Ms Terrell gives good instructions on how to set up an Instagram account for your class and to make it private so that only students, parents and yourself can see it. With Instagram you can post homework assignments, help students to visualize what they read, showoff a student’s work, share classroom memories and engage parents. A teacher can share with all the followers or one student directly. Students can even turn in picture or video assignments for you to see immediately. Ms Terrell shared many different creative projects for students to do with instagram and included links to many other resources and ideas for Instagram.
Instagram is very simple to use and many students are already using it. My question for Ms Terrell would be, what should do you do if a student does not have a smart phone that gives him/her the ability to participate in Instagram lessons. This social media tool is fantastic but students are limited by the availability of devices. I would like to know how she would handle this.

Comment #4
In this blog on March 02, 2014, Ms Terrell is participating in an ITDI webinar called “Sharing the Narratives of Our Lives: Meaningful Learning with Mobile Devices” which addresses the importance of using mobile devices to communicate with students. She asks, “why mobile devices”? The answer is simple; technology is evolving and nearly all students have a mobile device with them at all times allowing teachers to communicate with a lot of students very quickly. Many apps that students use on a daily basis have become mobile-based only. Teachers need to engage their students in the way that the students want to be engaged. Mobile devices bridge the gap between students and teachers by creating a learning environment similar to what students are already doing outside of school therefore enhancing learning and making it connected. Through apps such as Vine, Snapchat, Meme, Instagram and many more students continually feed themselves bite-sized bits of information. Ms Terrell shared a quote by John Holt which stated that “Learning is not the product of teaching. Learning is the product of the activity of learners”. She suggests that we ask ourselves every day, “What did my students do in class today?” She states that students learn better by moving around and interacting with the world than they do by reading text books and we should not spend our time “teaching to the test”. By using mobile devices, we will be able to better connect and our students will be better learners because of it. Ms. Terrell has published a book called Learning to Go that is a great source for lesson plans for teachers who want to incorporate mobile devices into their teaching.

I think that using mobile devices will be a great way to connect with students but it comes with complications. There are so many apps available that the students use and they are evolving at a rapid rate. I have been able to witness this first hand by keeping up with my teenage daughter's social interactions. Just when I think I know what app she is using to communicate with, most often it changes to something different. Apps are trendy and many become very popular and then are short lived. I believe that a teacher need to stay “in the loop” with what the kids are doing but it will be very tedious to keep up with the trends and use them in our teaching practices. We will need to stick with time tested apps and then require that our students follow us on them if this is going to work. I love the idea of being able to send small bits of important information out to my students 24 hours a day and look forward to making this part of my lesson plans.