Sunday, March 30, 2014

Project #15

The feed back I got called for me to do a Rubric. So, here is the lesson plan with the Rubric!

Project Overview
Project Calender
Project Rubric

Character Analysis Triangle

Blog Post 10: Sir Ken Robinson: Bring on the Revolution!

This week we got the privilege of listening to Sir Ken Robinson TED Talk about his view on how and why the Education system should be changed. The part that spoke to me is when he said "Human communities depend upon a diversity of talent, not a singular conception." The reason for this is because I have had people in my ear for a while telling me how useless Liberal Arts and English was, and have even told me that the Liberal Arts are no longer needed in society....that we just need Math and Science. While I understand that Math and Science are important for society to expand into the future, a civilization without culture is a dead civilization. Literature, Poetry, Music and Painting are more than just a passing fancy to be dealt with when a person is finished finding the next equation or discovering the next planet, they are something that needs to be fueled inside children and students. As teachers, we need to be aware that not every student is going to be the next Einstein or the next Newton, but rather may be the next Poe of Hawthorne. In the drive for more Scientists and more Mathematicians, we are drying up the well of other creative minds and potentially diverting others away from what their joy may be. It is not a single person's job, and it must be something that becomes apart of the this "Revolution" that Sir Ken Robinson talks about.

Science and Literature shooting at each other with cannons!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Project #9

Here is my project #9. We had a bit of delay because of a technical difficulty, and Dr. Strange had given us an unknown-duration time extension. The Sparta Group discusses Chapter 6 of Mark Prinsky's book "Teaching Digital Natives."

Mark Prisnky's

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Blog Post #9

This week we watched a video made to inform us about Mrs. Cassidy's first grade class, as well as a set of videos showing an interview between a previous EDM310 class and Mrs. Cassidy. In the class room video, we got the privilege of being told by the students what they do in class, and how they use the technology that they are being given. Whether or not they fully understand what they are doing, it is still impressive that they understand enough to explain it. The part 1 video was interesting, just to because we got to hear a bit more about what it is like in the current classrooms. I graduated 10 years ago, so when she talks about that she has been dealing with technology since then I can imagine how much technology has changed in the past 5 years, lets alone 10. It was a bit reassuring to see that someone who hadn't grown up with technology, as some of us have, handle the change so well. One of the fears that I have is that technology will advance so fast that the rate of change maybe difficult to keep up with. In part 2 of the interview, she talks about using technology in your personal life and what types of technology you should truly learn to use. Her advice was to stick to what you like, and only figure out in depth the technologies that are connected with what you like. In part 3 she is quick to remind us that the technology we are discussing, like the internet, is a tool, and as teachers we must be vigilant in ensuring that they are used for such purposes only.

A set of students sitting at their desks with laptops in front of them

Sunday, March 16, 2014

C4T #2

For the second C4T assignment I was given was David Wee's blog The Reflective Educator. He is a Formative Assessment Specialist for Mathematics at New Visions for Public Schools in NYC. In his blog, he discusses different aspects of life inside and outside of school that he has noticed mathematics can be used in. I am an English student and have had very little success in math. So unfortunately some of the blog posts he makes, mostly ones dealing with equations, were hard for me to understand.

In his most recent blog post, however, he discusses assessments that may eventually be used in New York City. What I found interesting in this is that he mentions an idea that seems almost project base learning, saying "What I think is missing is an opportunity for students to demonstrate the complete range of what it means to do mathematics, including asking questions themselves that they answer,[..]." He does state that it is still better then most assessments that he has dealt with before, and hopes that he would be able to use something similar in the future.

An earlier post was a way of teaching fractions that, even to me, made perfect sense. He says that he noticed that a lot of students he was tutoring were having problems with fractions, so he came up with a way of teaching them. That way was using a visual representation, via boxes on a chart, to describe how to add or subtract fractions. Instead of just teaching them formulas or the rules, he shows them a visual and physical representation of what is going on. That is a hands on way of learning that I think many students would benefit greatly from.

In conclusion, I will keep coming back to Mr. Wee's blog, even though I am out of my league when it comes to mathematics. Perhaps, in some weird way, I may learn something new myself.

David Wee: A Formative Assessment Specialist for Mathematics at New Visions for Public Schools

Project #14

Project 14: Lesson Overview
Project 14: Lesson Calendar

Lesson Plan Website

Character Analysis Chart

Blog Post #8: 21st Century Technologies for learning and communication

When someone gives you the task to search out and find new technologies for learning and communication, especially ones you haven't covered in a class, you tend to get a little scared as a lot of your options fall out. So, I have decided to go out on a limb and try my hand at presenting a technology that we currently have, in a light that may be used for learning and education. What is that technology you ask? Well, it is the Video Game.

"Wait, what?!" some of you might be asking. It is okay, we do not need to bring out the pitch forks just yet. Where am I going with this? “When people learn to play video games,they are learning a new literacy.” That is a quote from James Paul Gee in his 2003 book Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy. He later goes on to describe video games as a "situate meaning in a multimodal space through embodied experiences to solve problems and reflect on the intricacies of the design of imagined worlds and the design of both real and imagined social relationships and identities in the modern world." So how does this deal with education? We have learned that the old methods of teaching are not workable anymore, they are outdated and are quickly being replaced. Why is this? Information is easier to access, and at a faster pace. In terms of literature, with "audio-books" and "online discussions" about the book, it can almost get to the point where a student does not have to read the book to get understandings from the book. The argument has been made that the reason why video games will never educational is because they are too fast pace.

In the Blog The American Conservative we see this argument in the statement "The novel is an adult medium that is slow moving, not stimulus-intensive, and demanding of contemplative silence and reflection. Video games are overly stimulating—visually, aurally, and physically—and they require frantic interaction." I argue that games are a different form of a novel, much akin then different. Would we all agree that there are differences between a short story and a novel? Can the same be said about games? Is there a difference between the Mario franchise and the Mass Effect series?

What I am getting at here is that more and more video games are developing story lines, interlocking ideas and concepts. No longer is it simply just about getting to the other side of the map to acquire points, but rather we have stories about a conflict of controlling man's future vs. the freedom to do as one pleases (Assassin's Creed franchise) and a dystopic story in which people took the Ayn Rand theory discussed in Atlus Shrugged and built an under water city to live in (Bioshock).

In the blog Interesting Literature, we get a guest blog post by Dr. Alister Brown in which he writes "I start from the presumption that, although games are not literature in any straightforward sense, with 2000 years of literary criticism behind us there must be something interesting that literary scholars can find to say about the way video game narratives work. Claiming this, though, involves thinking backwards." He continues to talk about how video games can produce similar effects at literature, but through different means.

We have learned that education has changed greatly through out the years, even since some of us have been in High School. As technology changes and we shift away from the traditions that we were taught with, we need to stop looking at other things with a closed off mind. Perhaps it is time that our definition of "Literature" changes to expand with the growing world, rather then keep it in its tiny little box.

The opening screen to The Great Gatsby NES game

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Blog #7: Randy Pausch's Last Lecture

There are moments in your life when you meet someone during your life that helps inspire you a bit more to continue to go for your dreams. Dr. Randy Pausch is one of those people. If not for his determination to not let his final days be filled with depression and despair, then for the life work he did that inspired so many others. Again, it has been an interesting encounter yet again for me. Before I switched to my English degree, I stuggled as a Computer Science major at Auburn University. During that time, I got the chance to use the ALICE program. My team and I created a musical video for Michael Jackson's Thriller, sadly not up on the internet. That is not important! What is important is that I have directly used a portion of this man's legacy.

So what does he teach in his last lecture? I think the two important aspects we can get from this are 1) Do not give up, just wait and 2) Have fun. The first one is probably one we have all been taught, but only the first part. I remember always being told "Don't give up, keep trying!", but was never told to wait. Waiting is probably a key skill that people are losing, and it is something that needs to be retained. Everything does not come to you at once, and you have to be patient until they do. If you rush to fast into things, you might get annoyed and quit. The other one seems, well like false advice. Work is not meant to be fun right? No! If you get into a job that you do not enjoy, that is a recipe for disaster. Now it's going to be work, hard work at that, but if you enjoy it then you will not feel like you are doing just work. The true meaning of "have fun", especially when teaching, is to enjoy teaching others so that they can enjoy what they do. I'm sure we have all heard "Those who can do, and those that can't teach", well I'm sure they just didn't learn what to do by themselves. No, they had someone who enjoyed teaching them, and that person helped them succeed.

So, why was this lecture so important to me? We both agree on one thing: we want to help others achieve their dreams. Even around six years after his death, he is still inspiring students to push for their dreams, even if takes them a little while. Perhaps, in some way, I can be as inspiring as he was.

Dr. Randy Pausch inspires even after his death