Sunday, September 30, 2012

Blog Post #5

The iSchool Initiative
Travis Allen was a 17 year old when he posted a video on youtube talking about revolutionizing the American school system. He talks about using the iTouch in the classroom to basically eliminate the need for any paper product ranging from books to sheets of paper. He goes into how using the iTouch allows students, parents and teachers to all be involved and able to reach each other at any time. He also goes a little bit into reducing school's carbon footprint as well as mentioning the savings per student if schools choose to switch the the iTouch method of teaching.

I found Travis' video to be very interesting. I agree with what he is saying. As our world moves faster and faster with technology, the school system is left behind. I have never known life without technology and I still find myself hesitant to use certain machines or programs. I think that Travis does an excellent job making his point by giving examples of apps that could be used in the classroom. I also think it is a good point to make about the carbon footprint as well as the money per student that would be saved.

Eric Whitacer's Virtual Choir
This video brings up two responses from me. In this video we see 185 people all coming together through the internet. They all have never met or rehearsed the song "Lux Aurumuque" together. My initial response is that this is an amazing thing. Here bridges are being crossed without people ever having to leave their home. They can become part of a choir with other people from around the world.
However, what about human contact? I think that this is an amazing thing, that we can have contact with people around the world and never have to leave our home. I also think this is a worrisome thing. Sometimes I worry that we are becoming less interactive with people in a face to face manner and more through virtual interface. So although I am initially impressed with an idea such as this choir, I also wonder what we are losing in the process.

Flipping the Classroom
I really like the ideas proposed in the videos by Dr. Lodge and Katie Gimbar. Being able to reach children outside of class, so that time spent in class can be used more effectively is a great idea. This is a great way to get all students engaged in classroom learning and, as stated in the video, it allows those who need help to come prepared with questions and those who are ready to continue on can do so as well. I would love to use this in my future classroom. I think this allows teachers to be better educators for the class as a whole as opposed to reaching just a few students.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Project #5 Presentation

C4T Assignment #1

The Principal's Principles

principal name tag

Link to Mr. Bernia's Blog:
The Principal's Principles

In Mr. Bernia's post from August 30th, he talks about beginning the school year with these three words: hope, opportunity, and courage. He goes on to say how it is the job of educators to bring these three things to students. I particularly liked the paragraph about opportunity. He writes about a child who had made it to 8th grade without ever going to a movie theater. I think it is so important to find opportunities to get students out of the classroom in order to experience new things. Overall, it was an excellent post about how educators affect students' lives.

For my comment to Mr. Bernia, I wrote that this was a wonderful post to start the year off. I told him about studying to be an Elementary school teacher. I also went on to say that we should incorporate his three words of focus (hope, opportunity, and courage) into our daily lives as well as our classrooms. The ending really tied it together for me, when he says "if not us, who?" it made me think. I wrote,"I think as educators it is easy to forget how much influence one has on students. It really is amazing, if we take the time to do so, how much we can affect a child’s life."

The second post I chose to comment on was from August 17th. I was once again moved by Mr. Bernia's post. The title of this post was "Begin with the end in mind". In this post Mr. Bernia talks about how, after spending the day learning about and planning for the Common Core standards, he walks away with Stephen Covey's famous habit in mind. He then proceeds to discuss the use of assessment in order to have successful implementation. He says that by focusing on what we want students to achieve, we can focus on the instruction needed to gain mastery. He then lists several items from Smarter Balanced assessments. He concludes by saying that student achievement is one of his top two priorities (safety being the other).

My comment to Mr. Bernia was filled with praise. I also believe that focusing on the end from the beginning is a good habit to use in life as well as in education. I praised this post, just as I did the first one. He is a well spoken/written blogger. I also wrote how, of the items he listed from Smarter Balanced assessments, the one that stuck out to me most was allowing more time to focus on the task. I wrote to Mr. Bernia that too often in the classroom we are rushing to the finish line. I believe if we slowed down a little we would allow students a greater opportunity for understanding as well as retention.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Blog Post #4

The first blog post I read was 1st Graders Create Their Own Read-Along Audiobook. I thought it was very interesting. The post talked about a class that was given the opportunity to work with Garageband to record the story Dinosaurs Before Dark.
students using garage band
I thought it was very interesting to learn that the students showed a lot of interest in Garageband, even changing the inflection of their voice and adding emotion to their recording. This was a great way to get students engaged in learning. Not only are they using technology to record their voices (and there fore learning about different kinds of technology) but they also received a print out booklet that they could read and follow as the recording was played back to them.
For the second video I chose The Flat Stanley Podcast. This podcast is based on the book "Flat Stanley" by Jeff Brown. In this book a child, Stanley, is playing when a bulletin board falls on him and makes him flat. Then he is able to do all kinds of things that I normal kid can't do including the ability to be mailed places. The story for this class is that the smart board fell on them and made them all flat. Now they too can be mailed anywhere in the world, just like flat Stanley.
map with flat stanley students
I thought this was such a cute idea. I loved listening to the podcast with the various students traveling around then world to London England, Space, Israel, Hollywood, even right here to Alabama! This was such a great way to have children take a story that they enjoyed and enhance it. Not only do they get to learn about technology (recording their stories) but they get to know about different cities around the world. This is yet another great example of integrating technology to allow students greater comprehension as well as retention.
The third video I chose to watch was The Benefits of Podcasting in the Classroom. In this video Joe Dale shows many different ways in which podcasting can benefit students. It's a great way to do project based learning and to allow students to use their higher based learning abilities.
I found this video very interesting. I was surprised by the many different ways teachers, and students, can use podcasts. I had never thought about using them to record a lecture and then uploading it for students. It was a new idea to use the podcast for kids who are home sick. What a great way to use them! I also liked how they said this is a good way for parents to see what is going on in class, I couldn't agree more.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Blog Post #3

graded paper a plus

C4C Assignment
For my C4C assignment I chose to comment publicly because my classmate had a wonderfully written blog with very few errors. Had she made a number of mistakes in her blog I would have sent her a private email outlining the errors. I believe that criticism should always be constructive and pointing out someone's mistakes publicly can be humiliating and unnecessary. A private email would alert one to the mistakes without making one feel embarrassed or even bullied.
Peer Editing
I learned a few things from the video Writing Peer Reviews Top 10 Mistakes. I am sometimes guilty of "racing towards the finish line" or being a "Jean the generalizer". However, I always try to be positive (compliments) as well as give critiques (suggestions and corrections). As I stated above I think that a peer edit is a great opportunity to help someone, not humiliate.
In the slideshow Peer Edit with Perfection I also learned different parts of a post to look at, and make suggestions about, when editing. I had never considered suggesting a peer use a different or stronger word in their post. Also, suggesting the use of more detail. Most of the time you can get a feel for what message someone is trying to send, but suggesting more detail in order to gain greater clarity is something I hadn't considered before.
Technology in Special Education
I really enjoyed this video. It was extremely interesting to see how technology is benefiting these students. In this video we see a few students who use their computers to communicate. They do not speak and so they type what they want to say. At first they give one young man a sheet of paper and it is too hard for him to communicate. They aren't clear why it is more difficult but one could assume that it is because the words are spelled out without being displayed and perhaps the message is lost some where along the way. Another student says that he used to take a long time to complete homework but now he is twice as fast! That is impressive!
I think that using computers for communication and homework for any type of student is a great tool. When you use it to better a student's life, that is amazing. I would use technology for my own special needs children to grab their attention and have them be interactive. I would also use it for communication for students who are unable to speak.
iPad in the Classroom
I liked the app called iWrite words. This app teaches children how to write and spell words while playing a fun game. The letters appear and a child can trace the letters and form the word. It also teaches children about numbers (writing them). I would use this app to help children with their writing skills and spelling skills. It would be a great tool for those who need to improve their handwriting as well as learn new words.
Harness Your Student's Digital Smarts
This video can be viewed here: Harness Your Student's Digital Smarts. In this video Vicki Davis shows us how she is using technology in her classroom. She believes that when you only have paper and pencil then only certain kinds of students will succeed. Her focus is teaching the students new software, learning how to learn, and use various online tools such as wiki and blogging. Two portals they work through are Digiteen (an online wiki) and the Flat Classroom Project (a source that connects students all over the world).
What Vicki Davis is doing is a new way of teaching. She is taking the classroom and "turning it upside down". By introducing this technology to her students she is preparing them for the future.
I think what Vicki Davis is doing is great. She is empowering her students in various ways. I agree with her that knowing everything before you teach it is not they way to think. Students feel a great sense of empowerment when they have to dig a little deeper and solve the problem on their own. Sometimes the idea of using so much technology in the classroom can be overwhelming and scary. However, taking a different look at it and thinking "I can teach this and learn new processes as well" is not only essential, but makes the realization easier to grasp.