Thursday, October 27, 2011

Blog Post #10

candle litDo We Teach or Do We Educate?
Why did I become a teacher and why am I renewing my certificate? It's very simple. I made a decision to study education in 1984 because I wanted to make a difference in the lives of young people. I felt like I had the ability help children learn, grow in confidence, and become good citizens. I absolutely felt it was "my calling." I am renewing my certificate after being out of the classroom for 17 years for exactly the same reasons. The fire to teach was never completely extinguished and has recently been "fanned" through my experience in recertification. That is, I want to make a difference in the lives of young people through example, hard work, determination, and kindness.
 I'm sure that there will be some "teaching" in my classroom but hopefully it will be overwhelmed by "education." That is, I will take responsibility for my students and inspire them to "want to learn." I will never give up on any student. I will set high goals and be creative with the process of education. I will change lessons or even myself to better educate my students. I will use technology and keep lessons fun and engaging. I personally can't wait to return to the classroom in order to provide some "education."

pencilsDon't Let Your Students Take Their pencils Home!
     I can picture Tom Johnson throwing his hands into the air saying, "Pencils? Really?" At least that is what he should've done. This satirical story revolves around the narrow-minded thinking that teachers can get caught up in. Teachers sometimes lose sight of their purpose. This post is  embedded with fictional hyperbole to show how ridiculous it is when small bits of information can be used and overblown. This ultimately hurts students and the educational process. It reminds me to keep perspective , reason, and common sense in the classroom and to avoid getting bogged down by the bureaucracy of test scores and small things like pencils and many, many other things that can cloud the mind and purpose of a teacher.
pencils     The administrator in this post was "accepting the path" that had been laid out for her and her students.
The teacher, on the other hand, was keeping his mind open (and trying to reopen hers) to the real goal of education.
     After exploring the site, I realized that "pencils" are a symbol of all the things that we are not letting our children use and explore. Technology is one thing that has  so much misinformation surrounding it. The misinformation is used to squelch its use.
     This was clever post and very thought provoking.

C4T #3 Royan Lee: The Spicy Learning Blog

Song Collaboration
gran torino movie poster     This post by Royan Lee is a video that he embedded to his blog about how Clint Eastwood and a songwriter collaborated across continents for a song in the movie It's a great video and was enjoyable to watch. Clint Eastwood sent a few piano notes to a songwriter and he developed the notes and created a wonderful song for the movie. The collaboration was through technology and eventually in person. It is inspiring to watch two masters of a trade work together for a common purpose.
     I commented to Mr. Lee on the enjoyment of the video and thanked him for sharing it with his blog visitors.
I told him I enjoyed watching the collaboration and that it was inspiring. He caused me to watch the movie Gran Torino and have insight into the song at the end.

BYOD: Bring Your Own Device
     This post gives teachers some valuable information if one is considering doing BYOD. Mr. Lee actually provides a list of reasons not to do it which in turn helps teachers to be prepared for all of the misguided people and misinformation about such a program. For example, he discusses the disparity that will exist when students start bringing things from home. He tells how many members of a school staff will not understand how the technology will benefit the learning experience and how there are such rigid policies surrounding technologies. It's a great list that allows teachers to go in with their "eyes wide open" to the obstacles that exist in a program like BYOD.
BYOD     I commented to Mr. Lee that his list is great and very beneficial. I also told him that  many of those same obstacles would exist if students were bringing their dog (D) to school! The misconceptions about educational technology has closed the  minds of adminstrators . I told him the list is very helpful and provides the necessary forethought when implementing BYOD in your classroom. I also told him that the list contains things  can definitely be changed through people like him who are resolved to make a difference through technology.
      I enjoyed the post.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Blog Post #9

Joe McClung: First Year Reflection
I found the reflections for this assignment very intriguing. It is very interesting to read an honest reflection of a first and second year of teaching.
     Mr. McClung cites that in his first year he realizes that it's "not about me anymore." Yes, indeed. It will never and should never be about the teacher. Education is student centered in the best case scenario. You must divorce yourself from all of those selfish tendencies and realize that this is your chance to make a difference in a student's life.
      Mr. McClung discusses the need for flexibility. This is probably one of the hardest and yet very necessary attitudes to learn in the first year of teaching. I can remember telling my principal back in 1988-89, that I (21 years old) disliked all "of the interruptions to my lessons." Things definitely do not go as planned sometimes........but, that's okay! Being flexible is a very important skill/attitude to acquire. Students always benefit from a flexible teacher.
     Communication is a skill necessary for a successful school year. It takes practice to communicate properly and resolve issues.  Most people know the value of communication but avoid difficult conversations for many reasons. When people communicate for a positive outcome or change, it is usually worth it. This is a great lesson for teachers.
     Be reasonable. Oh, yes. I couldn't have said it better myself. Two simple words that teachers forget about sometimes. I can remember in my first year of teaching and I had really "piled on" the homework. Kids were coming to school crying and complaining. I was not being reasonable. Four hours of homework? Forgive me!
I made reasonable changes and everyone was happy. If a teacher is reasonable then frustrations will remain low and it produces better attitudes and a more positive learning environment.
     Mr. Mcclung reminds us to not be afraid of technology. Technology is essential to learning because it is everywhere in our society. I am not as afraid of technology as I used to be. Use the tools of technology to enhance learning and your students will thrive.
     Getting to know students should be a top priority for teachers. Taking time to listen and talk to students will only make the teaching and learning experience more rewarding. A former student of mine is actually taking EDM 310 this semester. I remember getting to know her (Robin Hendricks) and her family. We recently "caught up" in the lab and it was a great trip down memory lane.
teacher crying     Never stop learning. If a teacher decides to only focus on teaching and forget about learning herself, then she will become stagnant and boring. You owe it to your students to be the best teacher you can be and learn as much as you can for them.
      On the last day of school in May of 1989 , which was the end of my first year of teaching, I can remember crying and crying and crying. I cried for my students that I had grown to love so much and I cried for myself in happiness and relief.  I had made it through the school year very successfully and had learned so very much. You never forget your first class. Here's an interesting link to another reflecting teacher. First year blog
Second Year Reflection
     Mr. McClung reminds us to adapt. That is, change yourself or your lesson to meet the needs of your students. A good teacher does this naturally through knowledge and experience. "Change is good," as he says, "and it makes us better." That should be on a poster in every classroom!
     Finding your school mom is great advice. These school moms can provide the necessary support and information that is very important to you. You should always appreciate and respect them, as well. I located a "class mom" every year when I was teaching. Some of my "class moms" are still my friends, today!
path     Try not to be a control freak. A teacher that tries to control everything stifles learning. Students begin to narrow their thinking  when control is an issue. That is, students will "burp things back" rather than expand their ideas and explore.
     Don't lose sight of what's important. Never! Teachers should remind themselves everyday that the reason they are teaching is.......students. You just can't do it without them. Students should be the top priority.When this happens students are very aware of it and feel important. Students will strive to please the teacher that has made him/her feel valued. Teachers must stay on the right path. Here's a second year teacher's blog. Second year blog
I really enjoyed reading these reflections. Thanks for the assignment.

Project #13 Smartboard instruction

Friday, October 14, 2011

Project #12 Book Trailer

Blog Post #8

man dreaming

This is How We Dream
- By Richard Miller
     The title of this video is very appropriate. Richard Miller is dreaming about a world of integrated technology that enhances reading and writing for everyone.  He discusses the incremental and fundamental changes that have happened or will happen regarding reading and writing. 
     For example, one incremental change has been the ability to collaborate through technology with people around the world. People are getting more and more comfortable with this ability. As the comfort level increases, so will its use and then new ideas will spring forth. One fundamental change deals with our thinking. It is sometimes our thinking that is actually holding us back rather than the actual ability to do something. Fundamental changes take time, effort, and persistence. When we are able to share our ideas freely then we are able to share our dreams for the future. Richard Miller's language of how we can "collect the threads of experience and weave them together" is inspiring.
     Am I prepared to write in multimedia? I am not totally prepared, but the knowledge I am attaining in EDM 310 is definitely helping me to reach that goal. Every new concept that I learn and practice is making me more and more comfortable with the vast amount of knowledge that is available to me. 
     Will my students be able to do this? My future students will be so ready to do this type of activity. That is, an assignment that incorporated multimedia techniques. They are witnessing this type of activity very regularly and would probably enjoy the challenge of doing it themselves.

Carly Pugh's Blog Post
     Carly employs some multimedia techniques thoroughly and thoughtfully in her blog post.  All of her time, effort, and technical skills paid off with an excellent product. The links are wonderful and weave together very nicely. It is a great example of integrating Youtube videos into a blog. Carly comes very close to being part of Richard Miller's "dream."   I will refer to it often.

Chipper Series and EDM for Dummies
     The primary message of the "Chipper Series" reminds me of Rafe Esquith. That is, "There are no shortcuts." Students often try to take the easy way out or deny the process of learning that goes along with the product.  This video is cute and reminds me to stay the course and enjoy the learning, even though it is very difficult, because it is worth it. 
chipper     I could've starred in "EDM for Dummies." It reminds me that effort, determination, tutorials, and great lab help can alleviate the frustration associated with a difficult class.  That is, you can succeed in EDM 310 with the right outlook and opening your mind to the concepts and opportunities that are given to you. This can lead to a very rewarding learning experience.
     I have an idea for a fun and funny video. I would like to get the students in EDM 310 that are older than 35 and create a video on how to survive this class. I would call it "The Wise Woman's Guide to Surviving EDM 310" or " The Survival Guide for the nontraditional student in EDM 310."

Learn to Change, Change to Learn
brickwall     I wasn't surprised at all that the educational system ranked at the bottom (even below coal mining) in terms of technological integration. A system that is so vast and powerful takes time to change. What other system affects as many people? The changes that are needed are no longer a matter of choice but a matter of time.
Why? Because these changes are happening everywhere else in the world. 
     When we realize and embrace that the bridges that are created, the communities that are formed, and the opportunities that are available through technological integration, then our children and the world will benefit.
     The title of this video is so appropriate. I definitely believe that the educational system is one of the hardest to change because so many minds must be changed.  That is, the entrenched mindset of what "school" is supposed to be. When thinking changes regarding technology,  learning is enhanced and improved. The "product' becomes superior which is really the ultimate goal of education. The brick walls must come down.      

Project #11 My short Movie

Friday, October 7, 2011

PROJECT #10 PLN progress

symbaloo logo

My Wonderful World of Colored Chicklets

     I have taken some time and thoughtfully arranged my connections to people, places, and things into my Symbaloo screen. It is a wonderful way to organize a lot of useful information. Each section of my screen has information that is  helpful to me as I journey back to the classroom. There are many blogs, sites, and videos that I would like to be available to me with just one click and my PLN accomplishes that for me.
     I know that my PLN will evolve as I continue in EDM 310 and my other classes . As I connect to people and information, I now have a wonderful way to keep the connection strong and vibrant. 

Blog Post #7

pausch family

The Last Lecture  by Randy Pausch

     The teaching methods of Randy Pausch are excellent. I enjoyed watching his last lecture and found it to be very powerful. I have learned from him.
     One method of teaching that he advocates is the "head fake." That is, learning something while you think you are learning something else. A talented teacher can do this in the classroom. This will naturally happen throughout life , also, as you reflect on experiences. Randy Pausch's "head fake" at the end of his lecture was fantastic and moved me to tears.
     Another technique, obviously employed in his life and classroom, is fun. Everybody likes to have some fun.Learning that is fun is so memorable and creates the engagement that most teachers desire. It is obvious that his class was very hard, but fun.
     Randy Pausch also had a unique perspective on feedback. He was not afraid of the truth or difficult conversations that could help someone. The feedback that he provided for his students (bar graph) provided an opportunity for self-reflection. This in turn made them learn something about themselves. Wow!
     Randy Pausch also believed in hard work. He expected his students to work hard as well. He definitely did not ask his students to do something he was not willing to do himself. This promotes a great habit and enables students to be prepared for the opportunities that become available. It's a great lesson.
     Randy Pausch focused on others. A teacher is memorable when he or she focuses on students rather than on himself or herself. In fact, a teacher that is able to do this is cherished by students. Randy Pausch's focus was on providing the best opportunities for his students. He was also focused on the process of learning rather than just the product.  This is a great example for all teachers to follow. 
     I reflected on many other things after watching the great lecture. These included loyalty, never giving up, dedication, and apologizing when necessary.
      This last lecture has had a positive impact on me.  Thanks for the assignment!

C4T #3


Willful Blindness by Scott McLeod
     Dr. Mcleod's blog is fantastic. In this post he writes a short letter to educators, parents, community members, and policy makers. He is telling "certain people" that they are willfully turning a blind eye to the changes in the world and that this "blindness" does not mean the changes haven't occurred. It is literary "slap in the face" to those who resist and deny the technological changes in our world. This "blindness" does not trump reality, as he eloquently states.
slap in face     My comment to him was one of gratitude. I thanked him for the "slap in the face" that he has provided to many people through this blog post.  I told him that I could sense his frustration and pictured him with gritted teeth and a pointed finger in someone's chest. I told him that people seem to resist change for many reasons including fear, selfishness, and habit. I told him to rest his hands and be ready to give a lot more slaps.
     He enjoyed my comment and responded to me personally by e-mail. He made my day.

Klout Showdown: Universities v. ed tech tweeps by Scott McLeod

klout logo
    Scott McLeod had fun making a table showing the klout (influence) score of some universities versus individuals in the area of educational technology. Texas A & M has the highest klout score in the table with a 73. Ten individuals listed have nearly the same klout score as that university or higher (71-78).
   I thanked him for teaching me about klout scores. I told him that it is interesting that an individual can rival or surpass the influence of a university through the judicious use of the technology that they profess and possess.
     I told him that those individuals listed in the table should enjoy a steak dinner, sprinkled with a little salt.
I told him I enjoyed the post.

Project #9b Instructional Time Toast: Alabama capitals/capitols