Sunday, April 27, 2014

April C4K

This month I continued to post on the Pt. England School Blog.

My first student was Christian, and his post was about Fiafia, which apparently means "happy." He goes on to explain that it is a festive day in which one celebrates different cultures, and is a day to be happy. What I find most amazing his statement "Did you know that I think relating to others is the one key competencies that you need at fiafia?" How amazing is it that this boy thinks that relating to others, despite their cultural differences, is a key aspect someone be happy? If only certain people in the world could figure this out the world would be a bit better to live in.

My Second student was Russel, and his post was about an exercise in Investigation. It was a rather simple project, but one he decided to take a bit of a humorous twist on it. He decided that he wanted to investigate how many burbs he and his father can do in 30 seconds. His father ended up winning. It was a good hands on project that demonstrated the skills of data collection and recording, and had the students create a slide presentation with their finding on it.

I did not get a third child, or if I did I miss them again....

A graph showing what order you go in when collecting data.

C4T #4

For C4T I had the pleasure and joy of reading the blog of Scott McLeod titled Dangerously ! Irrelevant . So why is this a pleasure? For one, McLeod tackles some issues of technology, two of which I will mention here, and attempts to bring light to the darkness of technology in education. Much like Dr. Strange, McLeod is enthused about the use of technology in the classroom and wishes to see it grow to its greatest potential. However, he warns us of things that even in EDM 310 we have not been warned about.

This first one he warns us about is the over flooding of technology in the market. In his post 60 apps in 60 seconds we see what he means. He warns us that at education conventions and seminars that teachers go to they get bombarded with information quickly and often. This gets to the point where teachers can become easily overwhelmed with information and with apps that are no different then a previous version, they are just The video gives a brief description with each app, but only from the view point of a teacher who sees it for the first time. Notice how there is no information, no quality discussion or lecture that goes with it......just apps. How many apps do we truly need for math? English? History? While it is true that usually the newest piece of technology is the best, is that the same for apps? With how easily they are made it is easy to accept that the newest app for education is no better, or different, then the previous one. He recommends that people who are creating apps spend less time working on quantity and more time on the quality of the presentation. It can also be said that teachers should indeed do their research and look at the apps before deciding to use them or change to them, they may not be worth the time.

The second blog post, titled Replication or Empowerment, talks about how we have to decide how we want technology to advance in the class. He says "We’ve got to decide if our vision for educational technology is around replication or empowerment. And if it’s about empowerment, then guess what? We’ve got to give up the things that we do that feed replication. We can’t hang on to all of those and get to where we’re trying to go." I'm not sure what he means by Replication vs. Empowerment, but he puts up a video (shown below) of a TEDTalk that he did where he talks about Fear vs. Empowerment. The basic idea of the talk is that we can't be afraid of technology or what they can do. He says that we do everything in our power to get the technology into the hands of students, but then do everything we can to limit what they can do with them. There is such a thing as to much protection, to where you limit the tools that technology is suppose to be. He talks about how kids, from ages 8 to 15, are using technology in ways to help change the world. From a Foodie Blog in Scotland that rates her school's lunch food to a boy who does his own voice over play through of Pokemon games. He points out that there are millions of kids like this in the world, but they aren't allowed to do what they want with technology....because teachers and parents are afraid of what might go wrong, instead of empowering their students with the hopes that something goes right.

Jack Sparrow running from technology

Project 12b

Better late than never...

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Blog Post #13

Literature in the 21st Century World of Technology

Has technology changed the role of literature in our culture?

Here are some resources that you can use to get an idea. Research some of your own and write what you think about Literature in the 21st Century World of Technology.

Preserve Articles
10 Technologies that Changed Literature
Digital Literature

So how has technology changed the role of literature in our culture. To some people, the world has grown to the point that literature is no longer a necessary part of our culture. With science and math as the forerunners in school and in the job markets, what good does art, music and literature do for a person? According to the article Role of Literature in Technological World "Science provides knowledge and power and both science and technology affect human life at several points, though the extent and utility of the applications are determined by our culture, our wisdom and our priorities. Literature reflects the moods and emotions of the times in which it is produced; it is conditioned by the reflexes which, in turn, are created by the impact of science and technology." Here we see that Science and Literature are on two separate paths, and some say that traveling down one path closes the other. However, we must remember that technology is not a new term. Technology has changed the way literature has been handled for generations. The website 10 Technologies that Changed Literature gives a clear view that some of the things we take for granite helped shape Literature as we know it, so it would make sense that the technology we are seeing today is just the next step in that. Literature, Art and Music will always be apart of our culture and our society, even if it seems that they are fading away. With the advancement of Science and Math new technologies are being created that can be used to help expand them.

How has technology changed the role of literature in our culture?

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Blog Post #12

What assistive technologies are available to you as a teacher? That is a great question, and one that deserves a bit more attention then a single blog post can give. However, the first step to this is to understand what assistive technologies are. So, what are they? According to that Assistive Technology Industry Association, ATiA, Assistive technology is "any item, piece of equipment, software or product system that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities". They are quick to let us know that assistive technologies can be anything from low tech communication boards made of fuzzy felt to specialized curricular software. They state that making the decision on what assistive technologies you use is not a decision made by yourself, but rather with a team of professionals and consultants. One of the things we can not let get in our way as teachers is the idea that we know everything. By doing that we could end up making a wrong decision that does not help the student, but could also hinder or hurt them in future education. So what is available for us to use as teachers? The fuzzy felt communication boards sound awesome, but not practical. The more practical tools are things like iPads and Tablet PCs. With programs that can read out event he names of the apps on the devices, it is getting to the point where technology will no longer be an issue for the deaf or the blind. However, it is still a struggle. In the video Teaching Mom What Her Deaf/Blind Child Is Learning On the iPad, we see that a mother is learning how to use an iPad in the way that her child would be using it. Despite being hilarious, it is a very informative video and shows the difficulties not only in operating the device, but also the difficulties in using the device in the ways necessary for some one with disabilities. In the video Teaching Math to the Blind we get to see how these assistive technologies are being used, and how they are making a difference to the students in the class room. It's scary to think of, but we may have to deal with students who need assistive technologies. While it is not our job to understand in full detail how they work, it is our job to be knowledgeable about them and how to incorporate them into our teaching.

A man using assistive technologies to use an iPad

Sunday, April 6, 2014

C4T #3

This time around I got a Kindergarten Teacher, Mr. Matt Gomez. He has some interesting discussions about technology, including using them as a way to share learning experiences and how to use something like Twitter.

Handling Twitter was the first post that I commented on. While he did not directly talk about how to use Twitter in a direct fashion, he did post a lot of links to resources that could be helpful to future teachers who might want to use Twitter in some direction. That post can be found here.

The second post was a little more in depth, in that it handles a serious issue. He hosts his own Google Hang Out, called Region 10, and posts the videos on Youtube. In this one, he discusses the idea of shared learning experiences, and how technology can be used to help support and amplify that. He also spends some time on security, and ensuring that the students are safe while sharing online. We have talked about is it possible for students to get into places that they should not be, and how do we prevent that. Well, thankfully we have things like iCurio that help with searching online for information. There are also security passwords that can be placed to lock out certain website, and other programs that can prevent things from being downloaded. We can restrict the use of online access, only letting students get on while we are moving around the room keeping an eye on them.

Mr. Matt Gomez's Blog Title Image


Unfortunately, my computer had an issue and I lost all my saved bookmarks...maybe I should really use Delicious. So, I only have one of the links to comment on.

The last student I was given to review was Nathanial's class blog. Nathanial goes to PT England in Auckland, NZ. The post that I commented on gave a brief history on the school, and told his readers about the school. I think it is important that students know about the history of the school that they go to school, to appreciate it more.

A drawing of children

Blog Post #11

Our group collaborated together via Google Docs, and split the work amongst the four of us. It is interesting to finally see our opinions, the way we present information and how we handle certain things side by side with each other. We have been talking about creating a "Think Tank" for the future, and I am hopeful that I will be able to use my team members as parts of mine.

Video #1

I watched Brian Crosby's video, and it has some awesome stuff discussed. To begin with, he talks about how he deals with students that are not high in knowledge, not just because of their grade level (4th) but instead because most of them did not even know what country they lived in. He talks about a weather balloon project that they did in class and the different aspects that went along with it. Not only did it have science and math, but also some language arts and literary aspects. The students were engaged throughout the entire project, and learning became a serious experience to them. Using the web to talk to people, conduct research and even give presentations about the project to other classes across the globe the students had their work cut out for them. The coolest part to me was when his class got to teach another class, in New Zealand, how to do the "Can Crush" science project. - Gregory Olson

Video #2

Paul Andersen teaches AP Biology at a high school in Bozeman, Montana. His video may only be ten minutes long, but it is packed with valuable information. He introduces his style of teaching as a blended learning cycle. He combines blended learning and its three components: online, classroom, and mobile with a learning cycle that aims to engage, explore, expand, explain, and evaluate. He created a mnemonic device to remember the steps of his blended learning cycle. He uses the word quiver. First he presents a question. Second, he encourages inquiry/investigation. Third, he uses video to further explain his topic. Fourth, he elaborates upon the material. This step involves reading and being able to pull valuable, relevant material from text. Next, he reviews his students in small groups so that he can verify that they fully understand the material covered. Finally, once all other steps are reached, he tests his students with a summary quiz over a few units. This was a very helpful video that I'm sure I will be looking back to for inspiration in the future. - Mitchell Lane

Video #3

This video by Mark Church is a promotion for his book Making Thinking Visible. In this video Mark has put his students into groups and encourages them to talk about what they have learned up to this point. While they are discussing the topic the students are to come up with a headline about what they have learned. Mark then states that after a couple of weeks they will revisit the headlines and see what headline they would now come up with. This was a very interesting way of getting students involved in a project. I believe that this would be a good way to get the students interested at the very beginning of a project to see how time and a little more learning about a subject can change their outlook on things.- John McPeek

Video #4

Sam Pane is a 5th grade teacher at Wilson Focus School in Nebraska, Tennessee. In the video, Sam Pane is teaching his students on how to be good “digital natives”, denizens, or, frequent users of the internet. To teach his students how to be good digital natives, he has his students create their own webcomic that stars a superhero that they themselves create via a online program that allows you to create a superhero. I think that is perhaps the best idea for a lesson EVER. Seriously, I wish I could have done neat stuff like that when I was in elementary school. Shoot, I make my own superheroes every now and again already, it’d be something I’m already awesome at, heh. The hard part though is coming up with a good name for your hero or heroine. This just further reinforces the fact that if you make lessons fun, it’ll make children become much more engaged and passionate about whatever it is they’re learning, mostly because it won’t really feel like learning. Also, by having your students create something, it instills a sense of ownership, a sense of pride in whatever it is they’re creating. - Jeffrey Brazeal

Video #5

In a video called Project Based Learning by Dean Shareski, we get to see yet another classroom that is fully utilizing Project-Based Learning. In this classroom, multiple subjects are actually combined. So, students aren’t participating in a class that is divided up into “periods” or “blocks”. It’s all one classroom that is being taught by three or so teachers. It’s a very interesting system, though the teachers do talk about how difficult it was to put such a system in place. But, it was worth it. This video further proves just how effective Project-Based Learning is (as though you really needed more proof, heh). - Jeffrey Brazeal

Video #6

In this video Roosevelt Elementry highlights their Project Based Learning teachers and students. They talk about all the aspects of PBL that help the children grow. One of these aspects that they highlight is that of public speaking. PBL really helps in these lower level classrooms to get children comfortable speaking to groups. Another thing that is highlighted in this video is collaborative work. This skill is a great thing to teach at this early level of learning because it’s what most adults have to do at work anyhow and to learn how to do it effectively and efficiently at this age can only help the students as they grow and learn. The last thing that is highlighted is how much the students enjoy it. The video has parents of children that are in the class tell of how it is helping their child and how much their child is learning using this method as well as how much they enjoy PBL. The aspect that children are loving PBL is what has brought me to believing how powerful a learning tool it can be. - John McPeek

Four People putting a puzzle together

Project #10: Interview

This is the interview I had with my cousin Mrs. Dana Dumont, who teaches 2nd grade at Saint Ignatius Catholic School here in Mobile, AL. First time using my phone to record a movie, so I wasn't sure as the to the angel of it. Not bad for a first time!