Sunday, February 24, 2013

Blog Assignment #6

Wendy Drexler

This video by Wendy Drexler was very much like the class that we are taking, EDM310, in which we as students are assigned projects, activities, posts, comments, and etc that force us to dive into the resources we can find on the web and using our technology in new ways. We have done projects that involve imovie and Google presentation. We have created accounts with Twitter, Skype, Prezi, Google, Youtube, and more. We have commented on posts of students, teachers, and classmates from around the globe. We have watched countless videos throughout Youtube that have supported and given us examples of the “Network Learning” our teacher and Wendy Drexler are trying to get us to see.

After comparing Wendy Drexler’s video with what I, myself, am learning in my class, I see why the question, “Why does a networked student even need a teacher?” is asked by so many. The video tell us that the teacher is still very much needed to answer questions and guide the students in the right direction. What I have learned from EDM310, as far as this question’s answer is concerned, is that 1) I would not do any of this work or research into any of the websites and resources without a teacher that was giving me a grade for it, and 2) that technology has its moments when it just decides not to work, and in those instances, you need a teacher who knows more than you do to adjust to issues and, like the video said, “guide you in the right direction.”

In one if the comments below the video, a former EDM310 student wrote that she believes that teachers should be the experts of the classroom/subject matter. This is easy to do in a math course (because before I graduate as a math teacher, I will have had some of the most advanced math classes offered) so I expect to know way more than my students. As far as being a Network Learning teacher, I do not believe that I am ready. I could not confidently say that I could walk into a classroom and know more than my students. This mainly is because it is something that students can teach themselves. Also, it is because “technology” is a subject that never stops changing. As a teacher, you must continue learning as you teach.

Wendy Drexler also posted a video of a 7th grader’s PLE. She has it all organized on one page. Her school stuff is all on the bottom half, and all of her personal stuff is on the upper half. It is a perfect example of a Networking Learners PLE or PLN. She clicked on many examples on her page and showed what she has been working on, and it was rather amazing to see how far ahead she is than I am on developing my PLN. Right now I just have my blog. Everything that I have researched or created is on my blog in some type of post. Hopefully by the time that I am a teacher, I will be able to organize my info and references in a way that I can access any of it with ease to best aid my students.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Project #10: Finding the Right Tool,d.eWU&psig=AFQjCNH6g_jQFDcRt1oA-jnNIKSSyhfGWA&ust=1361654752810650

"It's Everybody's Job to Give the World a reason to Dance: We were made to be Awesome!"

I would like to start off by saying that I have always loved math and always learned it with no problem. My learning style was exactly how teachers taught: the  teacher would lecture and provide a couple of examples, then The End. I always assumed that my learning style would also become my teaching style. Since I entered college though, I have realized that there are other teaching styles out there, and although I may not learn best from them, other students seem to respond better. This has taught me to be open about where other teachers' styles and my students learning styles can take my teaching style.

With that being said, I took it upon myself to search for websites that will help me in the future to form the atmosphere of my classroom and it's learning/teaching style. Then this assignment asked us to find some and share them with the class. Done! I have found many websites that are connectors. They provide links for me to explore to find what suits my class and students. The first one is EduBlogs. This website provides all the latest "best" educational teacher/student/class blogs, podcasts, twitter posts, apps, websites, etc. By "best", I mean that the creators of Edublogs do all the searching for you, and then provide you with the links in order to save you time from reading stuff that will just waste your time. Another great website to keep you up to date and connected is Educational Technology and Mobile Learning. This site has tutorials to help teachers incorporate technology into their existing classroom using social media that their students are already familiar with: blogging, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, Skype, Twitter, and Youtube.  In addition to all this, it provides links to some of the most educational based journals in the world for you to learn from the best. Still another that is basically the same, but individually run and operated, is Free Technology for Teachers. Lastly, is a website that my first C4T was assigned for is TED (this specific link is to Dan Meyer's "Math class needs a makeover.") This site is full of speakers and educators who have "Ideas Worth Spreading" about Technology, Entertainment, and Design. The videos are no more than 10 minutes a piece and really get you thinking about how to change your classroom for the better. Most of them are funny and enjoyable to watch. Here is one for example:Kid President: Pep Talk. A must watch: ENJOY!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Blog Assignment #5

Krissy Venosdale

Krissy is a 3rd grade through 6th grade Special Education teacher. She loves technology, photography, learning, and inspiring her students and others to chase their dreams. She bases her teaching off of STEM: Science, technology, engineering, and math. And she tries her best to encourage her students HOW to think, not WHAT to think.
I really enjoyed her blog post “If I built a school”. I would say that I have a very traditional learning/teaching style, but Krissy’s post left me thinking. At her “school”, she would create standards based on rooms and subjects. Reading would take place in a huge tree-house in the library. Science would take place in a real laboratory where experiments were always taking place. Math would take place in an engineering/problem solving environment. Art would take place in a real art studio. Technology would be taught in the mist of everything. All students would be encouraged to use their labtops, phones, etc throughout the day with everything. And she even goes as far as to say lunch would take place in a modern-styled café with couches and inspirational and innovative speakers. I think her school sounds like a blast. Obviously I left out all of her decorating and outside of school ideas, but they too would create the perfect environment for all of this to take place.
If I built a School, it would not be in a School:
If I had to build a school of my own, I would also base everything off of the idea of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). Reading, Writing, History, and the Arts are important, (I know in the past people got angry with me for stating otherwise) but there is a reason that there is a shortage of secondary Math and Science teachers. It’s because they are hard subjects to learn and hard ideas to wrap the mind around. Students nowadays don’t want to be made to think, and this is what Sciences and Maths require them to do. My school would encourage “The Nerd” in everyone to emerge! Let the uniforms be lab coats and safety goggles, let the school supplies be rulers, protractors, measures, and calculators, and let the classrooms be outdoors in the world! Our world could not exist without biology, physics, space, chemistry, geometry, and, believe it or not, Calculus (speed, velocity, acceleration, length, area, volume, etc). It kills me that people want to work jobs in which all they do is sit behind a desk, but then again, that’s all they have done K-12! Let’s get the students out into the world and have them study and live the math and science that is always all around us!

Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir and NPR Interview:

The choir in this video is good but to think that they never once met with each or practiced together is amazing. Everything was done through the internet, and people from all over the world got to participate. His interview with NPR explains about how it all started with a young girl who recorded herself singing his song and sent it to him. He then decided to get 50 people to do this and 185 people responded. Once his first piece had been edited and released on youtube, he did his next song which had 2000+ responses, and his third song had 3000+ responses. He says that this just proves that people long to be part of something bigger than themselves and part of a community who shares in their love for music. I have seen another video similar to this, Nelly’s “Just a Dream” performed by Christina Grimmie and Sam Tsui and music by Kurt: Youtube- Just a Dream . I often thought about how awesome the internet is when I first saw this video. They never once met but did the entire performance, singing and instrumentals, via internet, and it is amazing! Check it out (the end is the best).

Teaching in the 21st Century:

This video was very long yet informative about all that technology is good for in the 21st Century.  This includes podcasting, blogging, learning, researching, and much more. He had many lists of the different programs available for students to use such as Facebook, Youtube, Google, Wikipedia, and more. He describes teaching as becoming a tool to guide students into teaching themselves. All the technology out there can provide students with basically every bit of information that they will ever need to know.  Roberts suggests that teachers are just a tool for teaching students how to find the answer using technology. In my opinion though, teaching a student to look up an answer only works for some information such as, “Which country has the largest population?” or “How many gallons of water is in the Gulf of Mexico?”, but what about the analysis and application problems? Yes, they can find it on the internet, but how much of the actual thinking process is lost by this. Just because I can take any math problem out of my Calculus 2 book and plug it into Wolfram Alpha and get the answer does not mean that I “learned” how to solve the problem. And some might suggest that if we have internet programs that give us answers for this type of problem, then why in the world would anyone take the time to learn it? Are you kidding me?!!!! I’d like to take all the technology in the world and shut it down for a day and pretend like it’s the 1800s or something and see how many people literally go crazy. People have learned to rely on technology for everything in their lives and lose the pure intelligence that comes from really thinking. I don’t want to offend anyone; I think that technology is great and that we do need it. Everything Roberts stated in his presentation is right! I’m just a math nerd and nothing bets the sensation when you solve a problem that you had to work on for an hour. Technology takes that joy away. It’s just a sore subject for me. People in my “Math for Elementary School Teachers” class couldn’t even divide 324 by 3 without using their calculators; it’s called long division and we all learned it in the 4th grade! I guess I’d end my little rant by saying, use technology, teach technology, benefit from technology, but don’t replace thinking and problem solving with technology. Please don’t teach your students to use technology as a short cut to thinking.

Flipping the Classroom:

Dr. Lodge McCammon has designed an idea called “Flipping theClassroom”. In a typical traditional classroom, the teacher spends time lecturing and then gets the students to practice at home with application problems. The idea of flipping this would get teachers to make videos for the students to watch at home for homework and do the application of the concepts in class while the teacher is there to help. At first, I thought this was a terrible idea because no student is actually going to watch the videos, and the teacher would just have to re-teach the lesson in class regardless. Then, I watched a video by teacher Katie Gimbar about how she flipped her classroom, and she has a set of FAQs which explain how to avoid problems like this. After watching all of her FAQ videos, I am seriously thinking out starting my classroom in this type of style. I have been hesitant about using technology to teach math, but I really like this idea. I would be a good way to incorporate other methods of using the internet for math as well. I would of course mend it into something that I am comfortable doing, but I like the idea of using class time to work together, teach one another, and get questions answered. I also like how it is a great opportunity to build responsibilities and relationships.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Blog Assignment #4

Langwitches’ Podcast Videos

It’s amazing to see and hear 8 year olds learning and fluently speaking Hebrew! The technology is very cool but knowing that it is helping these children to learn to speak and read in other languages at such a young age amazes me. I think that all schools should have a tech teacher that works with the children to teach them how to help themselves learn thing such as Hebrew through technology.

This post was so creative and cute. The kids wrote a book about a boy named Stanley who got crashed by a bulletin board into a flat piece of paper. So they folded him up and put him in an envelope and mailed him to all of their families who then wrote a letter and sent it back with Stanley. The students had a huge map of all the places Stanley had traveled and all the letters that came back with him. They then recorded a book/podcast of the journey that Stanley had been on. It was very cute, and I think that the children are learning a lot.

First of all, the audio clip of the little 6 and 7 year old reading the book is absolutely precious. Aside from that though, this is a great opportunity for the children to learn how to record and make books and create something of their own, but more than that, they are learning to read! And after they read the scripts to record, then the whole class gets to read along with the recording. I think this is a great idea, and it’s so cute!

Friday, February 8, 2013

C4T Post: February #1

C4T Feb 7th:

My first C4T was originally assigned for a teacher whose website crashed so I am a week behind and trying to catch up. I was reassigned to "Teacher Tom" whose posts I am super excited to read just because of his opening page. He has a picture of himself in a superhero outfit. Now this guy has got to be an awesome and fun teacher. And to top it off, he teaches preschool!
The first blog post of his that I read was called "Students Refuse". This post is about a high school in Seattle that requires their 9th grade students to take a standardized test, called the MAP, that measures material not yet covered in their classes. As the teachers refused to give the test last month, claiming it wasted time, money, and resources, many parents and students have stood by their sides in a boycott. Teacher Tom expressed his opinion on the matter and how he is proud that the teachers in Seattle will take such a bold stand for the education of the students. He said that secretly the test is used as an evaluation of the teachers and is used for determine pay and promotion which even the makers of the MAP test say should NOT be done. Though all the teachers, parents, students and Teacher Tom are very passionate about this issue, authority rules. The superintendent has made all the teachers take 2 weeks without pay and forced all the students into taking the test. Needless to say, there are many people who are not happy!
I told him about the EQTs that schools are making the students take now and how crazy they are. They leave students behind rather than keeping them all together. Teachers loss focus of actually teaching the students a good quality lesson and focus on having them memorize facts for their EQTs.

C4T Feb 8th:

The next post that I read of Teacher Tom's was called, "Yeah, but it's not broke." This is a post that he said he wrote over a year ago but decided it was due for a renewal. I am very glad that he did re-post it so that I got the chance to read it. It touched my heart a little. And the story goes like this: Teacher Tom brought in 3 air pumps onto his preschool class one day and laid them on the table. Without telling the students what they were or for what they were used, he told them they could play with them. They quickly figured out on their own how to use them and began blowing air on each other and laugh and playing with them. Some used them as light sabers and others to make bubbles in the fish tank. Then Teacher Tom noticed that one of the pumps was not producing bubbles into the water and announced that that specific one must have been broken. Then one of the students spoke up, saying, "Yeah, it's not broken. That's what a light saber is supposed to do!"
If this doesn't get you thinking then i don't know what will. It's amazing to me to think that just because something doesn't serve the purpose that we think it should that it is useless. These 4 year olds teach us a different lesson. Sometimes they teach us more than we could teach them. He also mentioned this line in his post, and I want to end by quoting it because as teachers, I think we all need to hear it.

"I've written here often that I'm not all that concerned about what the children learn. From among the infinite bits of trivia that comprise our existence, who am I to choose what becomes permanently stuck in their brains and what has to be looked up later in life on the internet? No, my primary concern is that they develop the habits of inquiry and exploration: not that they learn, so much as that they think."
-Teacher Tom

Google Presentation

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Special Blog Post #1

Wolfram Alpha

Wolfram Alpha is a computational knowledge engine designed to allow anyone to enter the information that want computed or just to know about, and it will give the output. A simple example search would be as follows:
What is the population of India? Answer: 1.21 billion
What is the population of the United States? Answer: 309 million
What is the population of China? Answer: 1.35 billion

Because I am going to be a high school math teacher, hopefully of precal and/or calculus, then I did some more example searches related to what I might use in my own classroom.
Search: “What is the derivative of e^x?” Answer: “d/dx (e^x) = e^x.” If you have taken calculus then you understand that this answer is true and extremely helpful in case you forget while doing practice problems. Not to mention that there is also a full page of definitions of the derivative and integral and graphs of your question.

Another search: “How do you find the surface area of a cylinder?” Answer: “2πa (axh).” Under the answer to this question Wolfram Alpha gives pictures that show the 3-D cylinders and explain how the answer came about and ways to help you remember it. It also lists variations of the formula and examples of using it.

This website is such a great resource for students who haven’t quite memorized all their formulas, trig, processes, etc. It gives pictures and examples of every question you ask it to help the students visualize the problem and make connection between the numbers and the figures. My college Calculus II professor recommends this site to our class for homework help. It works great for the simplest of math problems and the most difficult.

Although Wolfram Alpha is a wonderful tool for Math, it is also great for all other subjects. I did some additional searches such as, “Who was the 16th president?”, “Who wrote Lord of the Flies?”, and “What element is Fe?” These questions, stretching from History to Literature to Science, all have correct answers that appear and give extra detail about each. Students could use this website in every subject to help them recall information and store it in their brains!

Gray Hayes Social Media Chart

Gray Hayes Social Media Chart has changing charts that update a couple times a second. There are 4 categories: 1) Social: Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Apps, Pinterest, Instagram, Netflix, etc. 2) Mobile: smart phones activated, mobile games played, sms messages sent, iPhones sold, etc. 3) Games: Zynga, World of Warcraft, games sold, game unit sold, etc. 4) Heritage: money made at post office, newspapers read, music download, DVDs sold, physical books sold, concerts, etc. Then each of these categories have 5 pages: Now, +1 day, +1 week, +1 month, and +1 year. These pages show the amount of the progress going on in that instant.

The thought of how fast everything is all changing is crazy. I think about how when I was young, everyone was still using cassettes and VHS tapes. Then everyone began using CDs and DVDs. Now everyone is using iPods and live streaming movies such as Netflix. All this progress and I’m only 21!! In the next 40 years there will be probably more than 10 times this much advancement. My students surely will know way more than I will. This means for me, as a professional teacher, that I will need to stay ahead of the students and learn as they learn and keep my head in with the craziness of the changing of technology.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Blog Assignment #3

Learning to Comment:

Paige Ellis’ blog post about leaving a quality comment was such a big help. I never know what I am supposed to write or how much. Paige's EDM310 post #12consisted of a list of steps to follow (and videos to watch) that help others in EDM310 learn to write great, informative, and helpful comments. Two links she provided wereWhat is Peer Editing? and Peer Edit with Perfection. These links, one to a video and one to a PowerPoint presentation, are basically the exact same. They discussed the three steps of Quality Commenting: Compliments, Suggestions, and Corrections.

Compliments consist of anything great you have to say about the post. Things like “I love your post”, “I liked when you said ____” , and “My favorite part was ____” are all appropriate for this first step of the comment. Next is the Suggestions part of your comment. This is where you tell the blogger if you agree, disagree, or have anything to add. This section is rather up for anything you want to say. The last part of your comment is where you make corrections to the post concerning grammar, sentence structure, spelling, etc. And that’s it! It’s really that simple. The number one rule though that Paige and both of her links all had in common though was Stay Positive! So remember this and happy commenting! Also, the video Writing Peer Review- Top 10 Mistakes is a very cute and funny one that would be great for teaching children how to comment on people’s blogs.

Assistive Technology:

The first two videos that I watched about assistive technology, Vision and Hearing Impaired Children and The Mountbatten, are really just about making you aware of the children with disabilities that still have to learn. They focused mainly on the deaf and the blind. I think that this is wonderful because I used to actually be fluent in sign language. We have a deaf ministry at my church and a staff of full time interpreters that translate the message and songs. I fell in love with the language early in life and took classes with the interpreters to learn it. When I decided that I wanted to be a teacher, I really considered minoring in sign language so that I could teach math at a school for deaf students. Unfortunately, South doesn’t offer sign language as a major or minor. Without using it for like 3 years, I have forgotten many words and can barely hold a conversation now, but I still can understand most.

The video Teaching Math to the Blind was kind of a wakeup call for me. I love math, and I understand that even those students without disabilities struggle to succeed in math, but I never considered that a blind student wouldn’t be able to line up problems in order to add or subtract. I guess I never thought about a blind person wanting to be an engineer or mathematician. Although Art Karshmer and his students at University of San Francisco have come up with a wonderful board to help them learn to set problems up the same way other seeing students would. In some new technology, such as the Ipad, companies like Apple have obviously taken these things into thought while making their product. In videos like Ipad usage for the Blind and Teaching Mom what her Blind Child is learning on the Ipad , a blind man and a mother of a blind child teach and are taught about the specific setting that Ipads make for their blind users. I think that it’s amazing that people sit down and take the time to make sure their product is friendly for all users, blind included. This makes me think highly of Apple and makes me want to go out and buy an Ipad.

Harness your Students’ Digital Smarts:

In the video about Ms. Vicki Davis’ technology class, Harness your Students' Digital Smarts, she tells about her students’ wikis, blogs, podcasts, and more. It is really interesting to see a class like this. In the school that I was raised in, the extent of our computer class was to learn how to use Mircosoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint. Even in my college computer class, this was all we had to learn. I did have one Calculus class in high school that my teacher was actually in the room, but the class was broadcast to televisions at other schools were classes didn't have teachers and just watched our teacher teach to them through the T.V. and all of our work was done on swivel laptops. I can see how having a computer/technology class like this one would really help students to use the technology in their other subject matter and get them interested in learning more and figuring it out on their own.

The website in which the video was located,, is a great website for learning to incorporate technology and such into your existing classroom or giving ideas for future classrooms. I looked around some while I was there watching the video, and it is full of videos and blogs from teachers, students, and professionals. I think that I will definitely use this website at least my first year of teach while I’m trying to form my classroom into something of my own. And the best part, it’s free!