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 cafĂ© 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.


  1. "If I built a School, it would not be in a School" Ah!

    " 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!" A delightful dream!

    I loved the Just A Dream video. An appropriate selection given the first assignment. The comment I left: "Wonderful. I am adding it to my class assignments in modern mixing via the Internet"!

    "Teaching in the 21st Century: This video was very long..." Long? 10 minutes is long. Time has changed so much since I was in college.

    "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." That has been Blog Post Assignment #14 in several previous classes. Don't use any technology invented after 1988. Only 1/3 of the students are successful in the technology fast! I may do it again this semester.

    Don't get me started on the math abilities of EDM310 students. I have given up on math! Ask me for the exam and results for 3 years the next time you see me. We can have a good cry together!

    Flipping appears to work for math classes. I hope you try it.

    Excellent. Creative, Imaginative. Thorough. Thoughtful. Interesting.

    Nominated for Blog Post of the Week

  2. Wonderful post! This blog post is so creative! I love how you said if you built a school the classrooms would be outside and I love that I feel like the children need to be outside as well!! Great post!!