Thursday, July 21, 2011

Project 16

Here's my group's final project!  It took hours upon hours of editing.  I hope you like it.  If you have any questions, feel free to ask me!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Final Report on PLN

My Final PLN

        As you can see, I still do have some empty spots on my PLN.  I intend to fill these up as time goes on.  I do not believe a PLN is ever complete, but rather, a constantly evolving network.  However, I have added more websites to my PLN since last time.  These new ones are US National Park Service, SYAC, TED, Kahn Academy, The Learning Brain Blog, my own blog, Kirsten Lepore's blog, and John Spencer's blog.  Besides the US National Park ServiceKirsten Lepore's blog, and SYAC, every other website added are ones I have found through being in EDM 310 and have found useful and interesting to me.  I urge you to go check all these new ones out!

Blog Assignment 14

Amusing Ourselves to Death Book Cover
        For this assignment, I chose to read a book.  Dr. Strange recommended Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business by Neil Postman.  Wow.  When I started this book it was so easy to get sucked into its arguments and believe every word of it.  Mr. Postman framed his arguments so logically that it was nearly impossible for me to disagree with him.  Although this book was written in 1985 and focused on the fact that the television was not reflecting or shaping culture, but becoming the culture seems to fit today's effects of the computer and internet.  Dr. Strange believed some of what I had argued in some of my previous blog posts were more undeveloped versions of what Mr. Postman was trying to argue about the television.  Therefore, it was difficult for me to stay neutral when Mr. Postman made his opinions.
        The introduction of this book was given by Neil Postman's son, Andrew Postman.  This introduction was written in 2006 and Andrew Postman explained how he believed that his father was simply ahead of his time in writing such a book in the 1980s.  Andrew Postman believed that the internet had become what his father felt television was to society.  Mr. Postman develops his book beginning with an explanation of how speech has always been something completely human, but that the development of the written word is what made humans more advanced and history more enduring.  However, in the 20th century, television had taken over the role of the written word as a source of information and entertainment.  It started with the invention of the telegraph which created the idea of "today's news" and began to feed people with useless information.  The eventual resolution to having useless information?  Television game shows.    Eventually, people would lose their ability to pay attention for long periods of time without becoming bored.  Mr. Postman gave the example of the Lincoln-Douglas debates in the 1800's which would last all day long.  Each man would spend anywhere from 3-5 hours with a rebuttal to the other man's argument.  Now, presidential candidates have only a few minutes to answer questions on national debates that are shown on television.  This is not only because we have shorter attention spans, but because television seeks to keep us constantly entertained, never bored.  (Otherwise, the television station will lose money because viewers will change the channel.)  At the Lincoln-Douglas debates, people listened intently the entire time for hours on end.  Later on, Mr. Postman discussed how television shows typically lasted 30 minutes and rapidly changed genres with each new 30 minute segment.  This was to keep audiences constantly entertained.  He talked about how news channel's purpose had also become pure entertainment.  Each story lasted no longer than 45 seconds and would transition from an extremely heartbreaking, dramatic story to a story on how to make spicy tacos.  It was not serious at all.
"Television, in other words, is transforming our culture into one vast arena for show business.  It is entirely possible, of course, that in the end we shall find that delightful, and decide we like it just fine.  That is exactly what Aldous Huxley feared was coming, fifty years ago." 
        Aldous Huxley was the author of Brave New World.  This book is centered around the thesis that people will unknowingly create their own demise by constantly giving into entertainment.  This seems to be the exact opposite to George Orwell's 1984 in which people are slaves to their government.  Neil Postman bases his own thesis around the idea that Huxley was correct in his book Brave New World and refers to him frequently.  Mr. Postman ends his book offering two solutions to the television entertainment problem     create shows that get people thinking about what television is actually doing to them and their society and for educators to change the use of the television to get children thinking, not just accepting opinions heard on television shows.
        Now that I have explained the basics of this book, what does this have to do with computers and internet today?  It seems one could almost interchange the word "television" with "internet" or "computer."  In my opinion Neil Postman was correct and he was ahead of his time as his son said.  My fear is that because young people have begun to use computers for so much and have access to so much, their beliefs and opinions are being shaped without them realizing it.  I will not lie, I am an example myself.  Viral videos?  Facebook?  Twitter?  Computer games?  These can be completely useless and a waste of time (viral videos probably always will be) but the point is we need to change how they are used.  Create ways in which young adults do not use the time on the computer as forgetful entertainment.  Like Mr. Postman said about the television, let education control it.  Draw attention to the fact that we need to be aware of what internet is doing to ourselves and our society.  I believe the Ad Council could put out some nice advertisements for this. I am starting to realize that Dr. Strange intended EDM 310 to be just this.  A way of learning to use the internet and computers in a way that is not complete entertainment, but rather, educational.  This is not to say that we should eliminate the lecture or the hand's on experiences that involve being outside or creating things, but the high use of the computer is irreversible so we must learn how to cope and use them in a good way.

Friday, July 15, 2011

C4T #4

        My first comment was on Sheamus Burns' blog post Some Tensions in Art Education, Including Grades and Subjectivity.  In this blog post, Mr. Burns talked about the difficulty of giving his art students grades on the pieces they created.  He feels it is more important that his students think creatively than the technical aspects of art (such as shading, perspective, and proportion).  The problem with this is, the school at which he works places more importance on the technical aspects so he has a tough time giving students grades when he would rather not have to give them a grade at all.  He feels that when he gives a student a grade, that limits their thinking.  Towards the end of his post, he gave an example of how he grades by describing an e-mail response he sent to a student who had e-mailed him about a B+ he had received on his last piece of work.  Here, Mr. Burns went into acute detail in his reply e-mail to the student.  He told him how he placed much importance on creative thinking and that this student's piece of work had only reached a "good" level and not an "outstanding" level.  Mr. Burns ended his post by asking readers, "Does anyone have ideas?"  In my comment, I told him how I was studying to be a history teacher but had highly considered becoming an art teacher instead.  I said that I had done a lot of painting myself and that I have the technical aspects of painting down but I sometimes struggle with the creative aspect of it.  I am a realistic painter    using photographs for reference.  I told him this because I can understand why he has difficulty with grading students in these two ways because one may have the best drawing skills a person could have, but without creativity, these drawings they produce would be nothing more than a photograph done in pencil.  I had never thought about the difficulties of grading pieces of work by art students before I read his post.  I told him that I thought he was doing an excellent job in the way he was grading now even though art is a difficult subject matter to grade.
        The second comment I left on Sheamus Burns' blog was on his blog post Project-Based Learning Made Easy.  This post was actually a reference from an article on  The post tells readers to go to Envision Schools to pick up a few tips for teachers to improve their current curriculum to make it more project-based.  Here is a good paragraph I found on the Envision Schools website which explains more in depth about project-based learning:
 "At Envision Schools, graduation means that a student has not only met rigorous academic standards, but also that he or she has demonstrated a breadth of leadership and cognitive skills, also known as “deeper learning” skills. To that end, we have developed a system of student assessment based on performance — what we call “performance assessment” — that emphasizes a student’s deep understanding and growing mastery of an academic disciplineMore than standardized tests of content knowledge, performance assessments are able to measure how students think about what they’ve learned. These assessments require students to employ their knowledge in the service of creating and producing something with real-world application."
  This seems like the kind of approach Dr. Strange wants us to have in EDM 310.  In my comment, I told Mr. Burns how I thought it would be especially relevant to him that grading be project-based because he was an art teacher.  He had already discussed in previous blogs that he hated that he had to give people grades.  I mentioned that it would be great if all assessments of learning could one day be project or performance based.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Progress Report on Final Project

        So far on Project 16, my group has been discussing ideas through email.  We have come up with a basic plan on what we want to do.  We want to make a video showing the good things about EDM 310 since we have seen so many telling about the difficulties with EDM 310.  When I saw these videos when I first started this class, I can definitely say I was pretty discouraged.  I feel like future students need something encouraging to motivate them when the class starts.  We are going to incorporate clay animation in some way but I do not want to give everything away just yet!  You will have to watch the video to find out.  I think it should turn out pretty good.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Blog Assignment 13

Jose Picardo's Educational Blog and Top 10 Tips for Using Technology in the Classroom

        Jose Picardo's blog gives some very interesting tutorials on how to incorporate technology in the classroom.  An interesting one I found was Creating a Blog Video Task with Quiz.  This tutorial explains how to create a video that goes along with a quiz.  In the video Top 10 Tips for Using Technology in the Classroom, Mr. Picardo explains ten technology tips that are great for the classroom.  The first one was "use more streaming video."  This tip was not surprising to me because this is already something I want to use in the classroom.  The second was "use music more often."  Although I have never mentioned it on my blog before, I have thought about playing "mood music" at the beginning of my history classes to get students ready for the upcoming lecture.  I thought about even letting them guess what we would be studying that day by listening to the music at the beginning of class.
Students on laptops in the classroom        Tip three was "use teleconferencing tools."  Dr. Strange has made this tip familiar to me so this one was not too surprising, but I could see myself possibly assigning homework for my students where they connect with someone else around the world.  The fourth tip was "create your own interactive exercises."  I was also familiar with this tip, but I am still at a loss as to how I could use it for middle or high school students where I have to get a certain amount of information to them in a limited amount of time.  Maybe I will be able to come up with a useful way to incorporate this into my classroom one day.
        "Use your interactive whiteboard more effectively" was tip number five.  This tip was probably the most unsurprising tip out of the whole video.  In EDM 310, we have watched and read so much about interactive whiteboards and how, if a teacher is lucky to have one, they should make it as useful as possible.  If I had one in my classroom, I suppose I would feel guilty not using it because it cost so much money that it would be a waste to just sit there.
        "Create your own podcasts" took me a little by surprise.  I am used to hearing how we teachers need to let our students make podcasts, but for the teachers to do so caught me a bit off guard.  I could see how this would certainly be useful for students who had missed class or for a more interesting way to give homework assignments.  "Start a blog or a wiki" was also a given considering this whole class is about a blog!  Tip number eight was "use social networks."  Also, not surprising since this class has us use Twitter and I already have a Facebook account.  Tip nine was something I already do, but the ones Mr. Picardo described were ones I had actually never heard of so I might have to go check those out.
        Tip ten advises teachers to make the most of their pupils' gadgets.  I would definitely like them to use their iPods or mp3 players if I were to create podcasts or videos, but personally,  I want to avoid cell phone use.  People would be texting all the time and I cannot see how this would be a useful tool.  Mr. Picardo put a good list together for this video and it is cool that he shows how teachers can do all of this on his blog. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Project 14 - "Teach Someone Something"

Blog Assignment 12

For this blog post, I want you to link and describe an internet sensation that has inspired you and/or a person that you keep up with regularly.  I am constantly telling you the importance of technology and staying connected with others which is capable through Twitter and your PLN.  However, here I would like for you to tell about a person you have learned about through the internet and are a fan of (that I have not introduced you to) and why.  If you do not have anyone like this, go look for someone and tell me about them.  Then, I urge you to continue to keep up with them and their work.  This could be an artist, politician, author, teacher, architect, singer, dancer, etc.  You name it!  You might ask why I would assign something like this and the answer to that is, this whole class has been about me telling you who to follow and what to do.  This time, I want you to tell me about what you like and who you like to follow.

Kirsten Lepore (the video on the home page of Kirsten's website has some material that may not be suitable for younger viewers)

Still Shot from the Short Film Bottle
This is a still shot from the short film Bottle
        Kirsten Lepore is a graduate from CalArts with a degree in experimental animation.  She has created multiple animated movies and posts them to her YouTube channel and on her website.  She has also done freelance work for MTV, Glamour Magazine, Nestle, Utah Hogle Zoo, Heinz, and an End Tag for shows on Cartoon Network.  She is so young yet she has done work for all of these big companies!  Her short film, Bottle, won Best Student Animation at the Stuttgart International Festival and Best Animation at the Florida Film Festival, Arizona Film Fest, Slamdance, and so many other awards that I cannot list all (you will have to go to her website to see the rest).
        I have been keeping up with Kirsten Lepore's work for the past two or three years and she has been a big inspiration to me.  Her videos are quirky and different and show her creativity.  I could see myself telling my future class about Kirsten Lepore and how her passion drove her to do great things.  It could be a source of inspiration for my students in creating their own videos that I will assign as homework.  From what I can tell, Kirsten got all of these large company connections through posting her work on the internet and through her college career at CalArts.  If a student of mine really wanted the success like Kirsten Lepore has had, they would have the opportunity to do so.
        In one of my older blog posts, I linked her video, Sweet Dreams, which follows a cupcake's dream of leaving his old home.  She sometimes collaborates her videos, but most of the time she is doing them independently.  She will sometimes post videos showing the making of some of her films (such as The Making of Nestle Drumstick Spot and The Making of Bottle) and it gives me some insight into how much work it took for her to make the videos.  It is not that I ever hope to make videos as good as hers, but that she gives me artistic inspiration by keeping such a difficult and monotonous animation style alive.  It reminds me that I need to keep up with my traditional painting.  I would love to one day see her produce a full length stop animation movie comparable to The Nightmare Before Christmas.  You can guarantee that  I would be there for the midnight release!

You can keep up with Kirsten at her blog.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Blog Assignment 11

Mrs. Cassidy's Little Kids...Big Potential and Mrs. Cassidy's Skype Interview

          Little Kids...Big Potential was such a cute video.  It showed me a little bit of insight into what Mrs. Cassidy's classroom is really like.  In the Skype Interview, it was interesting to learn that Mrs. Cassidy had started all of this simply because she had received 5 computers for her classroom.  These computers only had internet access and new programs could not be put onto them.  This, in a way, forced Mrs. Cassidy to use the internet as a learning tool for her students.
Children on a Computer        It seems like blogging for these 1st grade students is a really empowering thing.  Like Mrs. Cassidy said, it makes the kids feel special to think that the whole world can see what they are writing about.  I am glad she discussed how she keeps the identities of these children safe by not using their last name or picture with their name.  She also kept them away from potentially bad websites by explaining to them the link she wanted them to click on and avoiding the advertisements on the sides of the webpage.
        Mrs. Cassidy also talked about how each of her students has a "blog buddy" from another school and they discuss how they can improve their writing through the blog and through Skype interviews.  That is an interesting idea that would definitely be fun to integrate into the classroom for young kids especially.  After watching this video, I feel like it is almost more beneficial for young kids to have access to this technology than older kids because as a child, you typically stay in the same classroom all day with the same teacher.  Middle and high school students are constantly changing classes so it would be hard to have "blog time" and "lecture time" in such a short period of time.  Maybe the homework I assigned outside of class could be about writing a blog or connecting with a "blog buddy."
        I like how she said, even though all teachers should be technologically literate, each teacher should find their own type of technology that interests them.  I believe mine is video.  I love creating them and I love watching them and I would love to one day see what creative ideas my students can come up with for video projects.  I think the benefits of projects and homework assignments such as these is that kids might feel more like it was a fun assignment rather than the typical boring homework.  It would give them a chance to connect with others and actually enjoy working on things for my class.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Special Assignment #2

Part 1

        Kahn Academy was started by one man who was tutoring his cousins and found it more helpful to post his lessons online for them to see and because he made it free for anyone to see, his videos started getting a lot of views.  He eventually turned it into the "Kahn Academy" and now creates 12 minute long videos that consist of him lecturing on some subject.
        iTunesU is similar to Kahn Academy in that it is a source for learning, however, here you can upload your own lessons to distribute among your students or faculty.  Also, with iTunesU, anyone can put the information on their iPod, iPhone, PC, or Mac.
        TED is a resource for videos of inspiring lectures.  All of these videos contain "Ideas Worth Spreading" and can be about nearly anything.

Part 2

        For Kahn Academy, teachers might use these videos to reiterate what was taught in class by having students watch particular ones at home.  Another option might be to use one as an extra credit assignment by explaining what they learned from the video that was not explained in class about a certain subject.
       iTunesU would be helpful for teachers so that they might produce "virtual lessons" for their students to watch or listen to.  It could make some lectures more interesting for students.  Teachers could also upload lectures for students who were absent and need to catch up with everyone else.  Also, teachers could simply use lessons that were already uploaded as part of their lecture or use them to jog their memory on a subject they are about to teach.
       TED would come in handy for teachers when they want to spruce up a subject that might be boring (yet necessary).  There are tons of lectures on this website that can make certain subjects very interesting by putting new spins and adding new information that possibly even the teacher did not know about.  This keeps it up-to-date and fun for students.

Part 3

        For Kahn Academy, I watched US History Overview 1: Jamestown to the Civil War.  In this video, Kahn gives an overview of the main events that occured in American History from the founding of Jamestown up to the Civil War in the 1860s.  After Kahn initially discusses the founding of Jamestown (1607) and Plymouth (1620), he jumps ahead 130 years to 1754 when American History really came into play.  He ends with explaining the implications that would turn into the Civil War.
        This video gave some details, but basically showed the broad happenings of the US over time.  Kahn used maps, dates, and photographs to give some visual explanation to his lecture.  I found the maps especially helpful in reminding me where certain locations were.  This would definitely be a vital tool for American History teachers to send to their students after that section of history is covered in order to summarize to them what was just taught.
       On iTunesU I watched Pop Culture Influence under the Moments in American History Channel in iTunesU.  This was such a neat little channel.  It had 1-3 minute long videos based on one particular subject in American History.  Topics ranged anywhere from the founding of Jamestown to the Feminist Movement.  It used experts in each of the short video clips and made for a quick learning device.
        Pop Culture Influence explained how much pop culture affects everyone, especially young adults.  One man in the video said that by using the music, fashion, and art of a given period, it works as a "hook" to capture young adults attention when trying to get them interested in a particular history subject.  The video ended asking viewers, "Does pop culture affect American societal times, or does American society affect pop culture?"  It certainly left me thinking.  What about you?
       For TED, I watched Honor Harger: A history of the universe in sound.  Harger begins with playing audio clips of the radio waves various planets and stars in space make.  Harger runs a website that combines both her artistic nature and science that broadcasts the live sounds that these various planets and stars are making.  Harger then proceeds to explain the history of our universe in sound.  She starts with the invention of the telephone.  Thomas Watson (who helped Alexander Graham Bell with the telephone) noticed the weird sounds that his telephone lines were picking up (and this was 10 years before the existence of radio waves was discovered).  What were these sounds?  The crackles were lightening and the chirps were solar winds interacting with the earth's atmosphere (aka Northern Lights).  Later on, in the 1930s, a man named K. G. Jansky figured out that celestial bodies emitted radio waves.  In the 1960s, two more men heard strange sounds and they researched and determined it to be the sounds of cosmic radiation.
        This video was very interesting in that it showed not what our universe looked like and how it moved, but how it sounds.  That is definitely a new take on learning about the universe     a take that would most certainly intrigue students about learning what lies beyond the earth.

Part 4

        Kahn Academy could one day help my (history) class in helping keep the student's memories straight with all the dates and events that occured.  I could even use it as a source to keep dates straight for myself as a teacher!  It certainly was cool to see how many subjects Mr. Kahn had made videos about.  I guess he could be considered a Renaissance Teacher (highly knowledgeable about all school subjects).
       iTunesU seems to have videos and podcasts about everything.  I can even publish my own!  It has so many interesting channels that can teach about literally any subject.  As a teacher I can us channels such as  Moments in American History Channel like I discussed earlier.  It kind of gives students "the inside scoop" that a simple lecture might not be able to give.  I could show some in my classroom or assign them as part of homework.  Maybe I could even get my students to post their own?
       TED lectures from around the world.  I could see myself using this website to show opposing views on a particular subject and having my class analyze these differences and tell me who they agree with more and why.  I could also simply show the lectures in class to help them think more deeply about my lesson rather than just hearing it.

Part 5

        The actual assignment did not surprise me considering it is EDM 310.  (We always have so much to do.)  However, besides hearing about (but not exploring) iTunesU, I had not heard of either Kahn Academy or  TED.  They are good sources for a teacher to keep handy.  As lengthy as this assignment was, I am glad Professor Strange introduced me to these resources.  Adding to PLN now...

Blog Assignment 10

Do You Teach Or Do You Educate? by Joshua Bloom

        This was an inspiring video explaining how we should educate rather than teach.  Teaching consists of throwing all the information out to students and expecting them to know it.  Educating is giving the information to you students in an inspiring way and letting them decide whether or not they want to learn it.  At least, these are the definitions in my opinion.
        I became an education major for many reasons, one of them being that I always dreamed of being the kind of teacher that kids would always remember as being their favorite.  Not because I was easy and not because I was passive, but because I made class fun, interesting, and challenging.  I got them inspired about history in the same way I felt about history so later on down the road when a history related question comes up on Jeopardy! or a historical monument is erected or they're at some history museum or decide they want to make a historical documentary or movie, they might know all about it or enjoy it possibly because they learned something in my class years ago.

Don't Let Them Take Pencils Home by Tom Johnson

        This was an interesting way to set up an argument.  Mr. Johnson effectively states his dismay with how some people react to new information through a quoted conversation.  Though this particular conversation is about the use of pencils at home, I think Mr. Johnson intended the blog post to have a much broader interpretation.
        Gertrude assumed that because statistics had shown that children who brought pencils home had lower standardized test scores, Mr. Johnson should stop giving his students paper and pencil homework. She entirely missed the point of this article.  The problem was not the act of having pencil and paper homework, but what kids were actually doing with their pencils at home.  The assignments the kids were assigned were boring and not engaging, therefore affecting the children's ability to creatively learn.  These same kids who took the standardized tests had the same thoughts about pencils as they did about the "boring homework" thus causing their test scores to plummet.  Mr. Johnson explained to Gertrude that he only assigned homework that would interest his students, but ultimately it was up to them what they did with their pencils.
Misleading Advertisement        This blog post is a classic example of people taking information out of context and isolating it.  We must always remember there are conditions and circumstances for every bit of new information we come across.  It makes me think of the numerous ads giving free things away.  (The majority of the time, they are not free)

C4T #3

        The first comment I left on The Spicy Learning Blog was on the post Get up and Talk.  In this post, Royan Lee explains how technology can sometimes overshadow the importance of speaking in front of the classroom.  He says this is a part of the modern classroom and though it is a small part, it is very important.  In my comment, I told him how I completely agreed and how it is especially true for EDM 310, a class all about technology.
        In my second comment on The Spicy Learning Blog, it was on the post entitled Jermaine.  The way Mr. Lee wrote this was very touching and I really recommend you go read it for yourself to get the entire feel of it.  A basic summary of the post, however, is that Jermaine was a student who used his iPad to write his own music.  It was a source of creativity and inspiration for him.  Mr. Lee talked to him and asked him who taught him how to do all of that.  Jermaine simply replied, "No one, sir."  The conversation continues and Mr. Lee learns that Jermaine is not allowed to bring the iPad to class.  Mr. Lee ends the post with, "...and [it] left [me] with the strangest mixture of anger and hope for our education system."  I feel that I best made my response to this post through my comment, so in order to prevent being repetitious, I will paste my comment here.

        "This post really got me thinking. In a world where electronics are taking over the world, should they have a place in the classroom as well? Jermaine felt his iPad was a source of creativity and spoke to him more than his own teachers did. This would be a good tool to help Jermaine become more interested in school. It’s not that we should buy a bunch of iPads and start making everyone in class use them, but instead look at what each individual uses for inspiration and creativity and seek to use that tool in the classroom for that individual. Of course, nearly everyone would have different inspirations and it would be hard to incorporate it all in classrooms where everyone is graded equally. Maybe, though, it can become a reality one day."

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Skype Interview Project #12

The sound quality did not turn out so great when the person I was interviewing spoke.  I did the best I could.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Blog Assignment 9

What I've Learned This Year by Mr. McClung

        Mr. McClung discusses everything he learned his first year of teaching.  He begins by explaining how he was so concerned about how his superiors would judge his teaching that he forgot to realize the most important part     what the students were learning from his class.  I am glad he mentioned this.  It is definitely good advice for me.  I am very worried about how I will be perceived as a teacher especially since I have been getting graded all my life by my actions.  It will be hard to suddenly change that view and focus on my student's learning while balancing the reactions of my superiors.  However, that is what is going to have to happen.
        Mr. McClung then talks about how his "planned" lessons rarely ever went as he intended thus telling teachers that we need to be flexible with our lessons.  Once more, this hits home to me.  I do have many ideas and things planned for my future classroom and while I will not throw these plans aside, I really should not get my hopes too high because not all of them may work out.  Next, he explains that communication is the best way to solve problems and to never set outrageous expectations for students.  I agree with him.  Communication really is the best medicine.  Countless times when I am angry at someone about something and try to keep it bottled up, I become more irritable than if I had let it out in the first place.  When I finally do let it go because it is too much to keep in, I typically overdo it!  This only makes things worse.  So, I should keep this valuable tip with me and remember it for future times when I feel tempted to not share my opinion.
The Networked Teacher Chart
        He then tells readers to not be afraid of technology.  It is only there to help us.  This is true.  I am by no means afraid of technology.  I am up to date with the current gadgets and how to use them.  Where I do differ is that I do not think technology has to be used in the actual classroom in order to create a successful classroom atmosphere.  That is just my opinion!  Then, he urges teachers to listen to their students.  This is good advice not only because, like Mr. McClung said, you may be the only one who does, but because the students will respect you more and want to hear your lessons.  Mr. McClung ends his blog post with saying, "Never Stop Learning."  This was a great way to end the post.   If teachers teach they should also learn because students teach as well as learn.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Blog Assignment 8

This Is How We Dream by Richard Miller

        Richard Miller begins his lecture talking about how he had loved and had books growing up and decided that was what he wanted to have a profession in.  He eventually did write a book and it now sells for 59 cents on Amazon.  Miller explains how he believes we are in a time where communication is changing rapidly in a way that has never occurred and will never occur again.  "Virtual Libraries" allow anyone to "use" books but the supply of the books is never diminished.  We are now able to compose with not only text, but images, sounds, and videos.  It also never ages.  New information is being added constantly, but the traces of history and old information is still there.  You can do nearly anything, the limits are only ones that you place.  Miller makes the example of, without the internet, his lecture might not be publicly published for another two years, but with the internet, it can be public in a matter of hours.
        Towards the end of the video when Richard Miller was explaining how we needed change, I noticed a lot of video clips of SMART Boards.  I found this funny that a whole movie about everything we can do with technology would resort to showing clips of SMART Boards at the end!  I think there are better tools out there as I, and countless others, have discussed in past blog posts.  He next showed his idea of a "Green Building" that relied on solar power and eliminated the parking lot that originally surrounded the building.  However, I am a bit confused by this.  How will students get to class if such a building existed?  He took away the parking lot because it makes the building "greener" but that does not change the fact that students need some sort of transportation to and from class.  Maybe he meant for the students to be forced to use buses or possibly this was his interpretation if the classes were to become completely virtual.
        Regardless of the ending of this video that aggravated me a bit, Richard Miller made some very good points.  This virtual library of resources is endless.  There is so much we can do with it and it is a valuable tool to all students.  In the past I have emphasized how I do not want to be required to use technology in my classroom but I have also said that the internet is a wonderful creation.  While my opinion on this matter still has not changed, for students, the internet really should be at the top of the list for learning resources.

Blog Post #12 by Carly Pugh

        Carly Pugh puts her post together in a very neat and creative way.  She calls for an assignment that would require students to create a playlist of at least 10 Youtube videos that meet the standards for the "fake" assignment.  She then explains how and why this would be a beneficial assignment.  She links inspirational videos that more deeply explain the reasons for this assignment.  One such video, Disability Means Possibility really got to me.  With videos like these, we really can expose children to everyone and show that we are all not so very different.  This fits Richard Miller's ideas by showing how we can learn through the internet about others.
        She ends her post with explaining how videos are a great way to interest all students.  Visuals keep us engaged.  I agree.  I absolutely love making video projects and always have since middle school which started with a very embarrassing 30 minute long video project simply entitled "Chapter 10."  I spent countless hours editing the video on Windows Movie Maker.  It helped me learn what better software was out there and how to make the video more creative.  It was difficult and challenging to make, but I still love rewatching it.  I hope I can one day interest my students in making videos like these.  I could show them the ones I created as a student.   Maybe I can give them resources to create these videos, like a costume catalog, green screens, props, and video equipment.  This is the kind of technology I want for my classroom.  Since I will be a history teacher, I can assign "Critical Moments in History" for the students to create as a video project in which they act out scenes from our most important historical moments.  This would be an assignment outside of the classroom, of course and I would not require them to upload these to the web, but simply bring them to class.  I believe the students would remember and understand history to a much greater extent if they see themselves and their friends as a part of history.

The Chipper Series and EDM 310 For Dummies by Poppy Bednorz

Still Image from
        Both of these videos shed some light on what it feels like to be an EDM 310 student.  There is no room for procrastination and EDM 310 can be very dismaying at times!  As far as videos I would like to participate in, I have always wanted to create a stop animation video.  The possibilities are endless with this technique!!  I am still unsure of what I could actually do to pertain this to EDM 310, but if anyone else is interested, let me know.  We could make a real world stop animation video, like this music video shows or create our own world like this video shows.  Another one of my favorites is this video which puts a new twist on making spaghetti!

Learn to Change, Change to Learn

        This video had many ideas that I agreed with and a few that I did not agree with.  All of these people are spot on when they say that the classroom needs to be more fun and interesting.  Students need more stimulation, ways to expand their creativity.  This can be done through the class atmosphere and assignments. The ideas that I did not agree with were how one lady said, "If I could remodel the classroom of today, I'm not sure it would be a brick and mortar classroom."  Maybe she meant for this to be that we do not always have to learn inside a building, which is true, but there still needs to be this physical building that students go to to learn.  It should be seen as a sanctuary, a place that gets them excited for learning.  Part of going to school, as Randy Pausch would say, is a "head fake."  It not only allows children to learn but it teaches them responsibility and promptness and appropriate behavior to exhibit to others.  Solely internet learning cannot teach this.  Only physical interaction can.  Another man said learning should not be all about facts, but having access to these facts. This is true, but there are some facts that everyone should need to know without looking it up online.  Suppose I asked someone, "Who was the first president of the United States?"  What if their reply was, "Hang on one second, let me look it up on my phone."  I do not think any of us wants this to happen.  Yes, the internet is good to learn how to access information, but there are some facts that people should store into their memory.
        Overall, this video made a very good argument for how schools should change.  It used statistics that were very convincing and an array of highly educated individuals to prove it's point.  However, we simply cannot change everything we have established educationally so far.  I think the solutions to our problems lie somewhere in between.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Short Movie Project #11

Quick Tip: You can reuse your paint thinner! After you have completed your oil painting, leave the dirty paint thinner sitting in the cup for a few days. When you come back, the paint pigment will have settled and stuck to the bottom and you will be able to see clear paint thinner on the top. You can then pour the clean paint thinner back into the bottle.

My PLN Post 1

My Personal Learning Network        So far my PLN is pretty simple.  I am trying to add more websites to the page but I definitely have the necessary ones now.  I linked my gmail and twitter account on Symbaloo and put all of my favorite websites on there.  Some of these include deviantART, National Geographic, and Modcloth.  The deviantART website helps me to stay connected to other artists.  Through this website, I can follow my favorite artists, comment on their artwork, and read their latest posts.  All the while, I can also display my own art in my gallery.  If you would like to check out some of my work, my deviantART ID is  The National Geographic website helps me stay updated on the latest archaeological discoveries and environmental issues (in between magazine issues).  Modcloth has my favorite type of clothing as well as a blog that also keeps me updated with the latest artists and fashion.  Lastly, I added Today's Big Thing as more of a "passing time" website.  This is a website that is updated every weekday with the latest internet videos.  I am always ahead of everyone when it comes to knowing about the latest internet videos because of this site!

Blog Assignment 7

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

        My initial thoughts when Mr. Pausch explained how he was dying from cancer were, how can he be so stable talking about his life?  He is so positive even though he knows he is going to die.  I know I would be tearing up every few minutes if I had to give that speech.  It really makes me admire Mr. Pausch all the more because of his high spirits.
        When Mr. Pausch was explaining his childhood dreams and whether or not he achieved each one, the advice one of his coach's gave him after Mr. Pausch had been worked really hard at practice one day stuck with me.  He said, "When you're screwing up and nobody's saying anything to you anymore, that means they gave up."  I have never thought of it that way, but it is very true.  The pushing of others is what keeps us going.  He also explained how when we let our children play on teams at school, it is not all about being great at the sport but about learning good sportsmanship, persevering, and working towards a goal.  Mr. Pausch calls this "head fake" learning.  "Head fake" learning is telling a story or having someone do an activity that they think is for fun, but really a lesson is learned from it all.  
        Later, Mr. Pausch described his dreams of being an Imagineer for Disney.  He was turned down the first time and he explained that, "brick walls are not there to hold us back but to show us how bad we want something."  Later, he got to live his dream when he got the chance to work on a virtual reality project for Disney.  
        When Mr. Pausch was trying to get sabbatical so he could go and do this project with Disney, he went to the Dean of the college he was currently working at and asked about it.  The Dean of his department basically got angry because he did not know about what Mr. Pausch was talking about and did not want to learn more about it.  Then he went to the Dean of Sponsored Research who also knew nothing about this sabbatical but had a positive attitude about the situation and asked to learn more.  This is a really good lesson to apply to life.  We do not know everything, but we should always be open to learning more instead of being close-minded.  When Mr. Pausch talked about the virtual reality class he created where students produced projects every two weeks, he explained how he was blown away by how good the first projects were.  Instead of telling them how amazing they were, he told them, "This is great, but I know you can do better."  Thus making them work even harder and pushing them to use the best of their abilities.  This is a good principle that I would like to apply in my classroom one day.
A quote by Randy Pausch
Above is a picture of a sign that is placed at the Mad Teacup Party Ride at 
Walt Disney World.  (As many times as I have been, I have never seen it, 
so I will have to look for it the next time I go.)
        Mr. Pausch ends his video by revealing the two "head fakes" of the lecture.  The lecture was not about achieving your childhood dreams or a lecture for his audience (though in my opinion it was).  It was about how to lead your life and to give Mr. Pausch's kids the story of their father's life.  I think that partly why Mr. Pausch was so at ease about his short time left on earth was that he had realized how much he had accomplished in such a short time.  He had developed his own class and the College of Entertainment Technology.  He had created computer programming software, helped build Disney Quest, changed the lives of his students, achieved all of his childhood dreams, and had a wife and kids.  Even though he passed away, I think his presence will always be felt.  All of the students he taught will remember him and continue his legacy.

C4T #2

The Thinking Stick by Jeff Utecht

        The first comment I left on Jeff Utecht's blog was on his post A Year in the Highschool.  This post described his whole year as a teacher in Thailand.  Straight off the bat, I found it interesting that he would teach in Thailand so I checked out his bio.  He has been an international educator in the Middle East and Asia for the past 9 years.  He seems to be a very inspiring guy and I asked him in my first comment how he got into a teaching position that allowed him to go internationally.  (Still no response yet though.)  His post described his successes and failures of the past school year as well as his future goals.  One interesting success he included was Pecha-Kucha Presentations that he had all his students make.  These were a new way to present things (rather than the boring slides with the audience taking notes).  The students were required to read a book, in this case it was To Kill a Mockingbird, and then select a differing topic in which to tie the book and topic together into a story.  They then presented this to the class.  This would certainly require more thinking on the children's part because they could not copy information directly from the internet.  They had to research it.
        The second comment I left on Jeff Utecht's blog was on his post Secondary Principals Support Mobile Learning.  This post gave some interesting statistics.

"Yet as mobile and social technologies become ubiquitous, attempts to block them are increasingly ineffective. For example, in schools that prohibit cell phones, 54% of students still report sending texts during the school day (Lenhart, 2010)."
Mr. Utecht used statistics such as this to give evidence to the opinion that technology should be used completely in the classroom since it is already being used by students secretly.  One person had commented on this post before me with a very good argument.  The person explained how this was not a good statistic to use because school should be about learning, not socializing (which is what the cellphones were being used for).  However,  I think the issue is not that cellphones should or should not be used.  In my comment I explained how we should really be concerned at what this statistic implies.  It means that students are not fully engaged in the classroom.  They are bored so they resort to texting (even if it is against the rules).  This is a problem with the style of teaching.  If the teaching could be more innovative, the kids would not even pull out their cellphones to text because they would be completely interested in what was being taught not what the troublemaker John did in Mrs. Smith's classroom during homeroom.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

TimeToast Timeline Instruction Project #9b

Blog Assignment 6

The Networked Student by Wendy Drexler

        This video explains how a "Networked Student" goes about researching through the internet using search engines like Google Scholar to find credible websites.  He contacts many famous scholars through the internet in a way that would not be possible face to face.
        I did not find this video very surprising because I feel like EDM 310 basically involves the same kind of work as this video explains.  The answer to, "Why does the networked student even need a teacher?" is that the teacher is more of a guide than a teacher.  She or he guides the students through "the learning experience" and is there to answer any questions the students may have.
        Am I prepared to be a teacher of networked students?  Yes, I do not see why I would have any trouble being this type of teacher though I do not want to be.  It is more personal when you are in the classroom with the students.  (And yes, I understand this model student in this video goes to class 3 days a week)

A 7th Grader's Personal Learning Environment (or PLN)

        This young girl seems to have it all together.  She knows how to accurately navigate the internet and has useful tools to do so.  Since I have not yet completed my PLN, it is hard for me to compare her PLE to my PLN.  However, I suppose mine would be very similar.  My interests are the natural world and ancient civilizations.  I am sure I could contact many archaeologists, geographers, and geologists through email.
        I do not watch a tremendous amount of television but instead get interested in things through magazines and the radio.  I especially like the National Geographic magazine which always has intriguing articles.  If I find something especially interesting, I will go search about it on the web.  I recently noticed in an issue that National Geographic now makes a "virtual magazine" for the iPad.  One can read the articles then click on pictures and they will load into videos or give a 360 degree angle of whatever is pictured.  Pretty cool new way to view the National Geographic magazine.

Why Smartboards Are A Dumb Initiative by Michael Stanton, Why I Hate Interactive Whiteboards and Why Are We STILL Wasting Money On Whiteboards? by Bill Ferriter, and Switching Off The Interactive Whiteboard For Good by Kevin McLaughlin

A Smart Board        Each of these men makes very persuasive arguments with different approaches.  Michael Stanton sums up his essay in two main arguments which are, "It makes the regular whiteboard more expensive, but not better" and, "It's an easy way for administrators to spend money on technology."  Bill Ferriter uses his two posts to explain how whiteboards do not engage the students because they cannot all use it at once and the other to, very persuasively, explain how a principal he knows spent $18,000 on 6 Smartboards when he could have used that money to buy 75 netbooks or 87 iPod Touches or 360 Livescribe Pens, etc.  The last post by Kevin McLaughlin took it to the level of the students by asking them, "If we could spend money on new IWB's or something else, what would you pick?" nearly all said "something else" which ranged from netbooks to Nintendo DS systems.  All of these arguments make for a very strong case.
        On the other side, I found an argument for Smartboards with the best two arguments being as follows.  The first claim from Smartboards Could Revolutionize The Classroom says that studies had shown that Smartboards had reduced the cycle of failure.  95% of students at this high-risk school were now routinely accepted into college.  The other argument insists that, "they helped increase student engagement by letting the students get involved with the technology by going up and manipulating the board themselves."  This two are good arguments, but can't these same two points be argued for other less expensive tools as the group of men in the first four posts insisted?  To spend that kind of money on whiteboards still does not make any sense to me.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

TimeToast Timeline Individual Project #9a

Isn't It My Opinion?

I am sorry to anyone if I have offended them with my views on using technology in the classroom and I never meant to make anyone angry.  I just see things a certain way that might be different from the way others see them.  I understand that others are just trying to help me see the situation from a different angle, and I do, but I have not changed my opinion because of that.  Every teacher is entitled to teach how they want to teach.  I have a certain way I want to teach.  My concern is, I keep getting criticized for my own opinion.  I thought the point of this blog was for me to voice my opinion but it seems like I keep getting hounded for that.  Am I wrong to be posting what I am thinking?  Feel free to comment and voice your own opinion on this matter!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Blog Assignment 5

Eagles' Nest Radio and Class Blog

Roman Dressed Students
The Eagles' Nest Radio and Class Blog was very cute!  I listened to the one about ancient Rome.  I liked the picture that went along with the podcast.  Apparently the teacher let the kids dress up Roman style.  It looks like it was a lot of fun.  Watching this showed me how I can incorporate music into my podcast and possibly have a "host" who invites everyone to to talk and not just have "interviewees."

Langwitches by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano

Silvia Tolisano was a former World Language teacher and in one of her posts she describes how important it is to speak clearly and correctly.  This is especially true through an audio podcast where the listener is focusing on every word the speaker says.

The Benefits of Podcasting in the Classroom by Joe Dale

Joe Dale linked a video to his blog about the benefits of podcasting in the classroom.  This video featured Doug Saunders who appeared to be very knowledgeable on the subject.  He describes the benefits of podcasting from promoting creativity and innovation to an effective way to communicate with classmates outside the classroom (especially true for EDM 310).

Sunday, June 12, 2011

My Sentence Video

Blog Assignment 4

Don't Teach Your Kids This Stuff. Please? by Scott McLeod

        Scott McLeod, J.D., Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Educational Administration program at Iowa State University. He also is the Director of the UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education (CASTLE), the nation’s only academic center dedicated to the technology needs of school administrators, and was a co-creator of the wildly popular video, Did You Know? (Shift Happens).
(The above paragraph was copied and pasted from
        In my comment on Scott McLeod's post, I told him how it was a very persuasive style of writing and it does make a good point.  However, I saw a comment that someone else had left, saying, "Are we preparing students for the future if they are capable of reading and utilizing the web but can’t sit down and read a whole book? To be able to analyze what they are reading?"  I totally agree.  Professor Strange has emphasized how technology can help us to be more innovative in the classroom.  YES it can help if you know how to use the technology correctly and appropriately, but it does not HAVE to be there.  We have read articles in the past that explained how technology is totally useless unless the teacher knows how to utilize it.  This lady that I work with has a daughter who goes to Murphy High School and the girl said that every single one of her teachers has a Smartboard in the classroom, but only one teacher actually uses it on a day to day basis.  Why do schools waste money on this kind of stuff if their teachers don't even us it?  You might say, "the school should implement a seminar where these teachers will learn how to incorporate the Smartboards into their lessons each day."  YES teachers should always be learning new things, but maybe some of these teachers have developed lesson plans that are relying information to their students just fine without the use of Smartboards.  I feel like we are making a mountain out of a mole hill by constantly saying a classroom is no good without the latest technology.  Schools need to spend their money on getting better quality teachers, more choices of subjects for students to take, better field trips so kids can learn about the world, and maybe improvement of the school facilities.  Not on useless Smartboards.  I am very interested to see what a decade or two with Scott McLeod's technology driven classes will give to these future generations who will be emerging as the rulers of our world.  I am not so sure he should be so confident in himself but only time will tell.  I realize Scott McLeod has so many more credentials than me so one might think, "how can this 20 year old college student say he is wrong?"  I guess I am a reactionary in this case, because I can see how what we are doing now is working fine for the majority of our schools so I do not see why we should change it.  Let change happen on its own.  Jacey- Blaire Chandler commented on my Blog Assignment 3 saying, "You'd be surprised at how many people your age cannot use a computer effectively! You and I have both been blessed with access to advanced technology unlike a larger number of people than we realize!"  I have to disagree.  I think nearly any aspiring teacher going to a university in America has access to advanced technology and can use computers effectively.  If these students can afford to go to a university than they can most likely afford a computer, in fact South Alabama makes this one of their requirements.  I have not met one person yet who does not have one in college.  Even if it is a family computer used at home.  My point is, if my generation is technologically advanced as I claim, we will be perfectly fine "teaching technology" when we become teachers one day because that is what we were used to.  We need to stop making an issue out of nothing.  Lastly, I will continue to believe that even though we can be technologically advanced, we do not have to be in the classroom. 

The iSchool Initiative by a high school senior

        A 2009 high school student put together this video explaining how schools should start incorporating iPod Touches into the classes and eliminate physical textbooks, paper, and pencils thus making the classroom green and saving about $500 per student.  The idea of not having to buy graphing calculators and textbooks is a very pleasing thought.
        This is a good idea in theory, but we must remember the implications if something like this were to happen in every school.  An Apple Monopoly?  No basic skills for students such as learning how to write? I do not think I nor anyone else wants something like this to happen.  I think a better idea would be to incorporate the iPod Touch in some ways, like for use as a graphing calculator, classroom e-mail, and special assignments.

Apple Logo

You Can't Be My Teacher by Darren Cannell

        This video has a young boy asking questions to teachers such as, "Do you know how to use the internet?  Do you know what Twitter is? Do you know what Facebook is?  Do you think I am going to be ready?  Do you think you are preparing me for the world that I have to live in?" and ends with, "That's your job!" It is very effective and makes one think.  Should it be every teacher's job to teach their students about the internet?  Yeah, for a technology class.
        Teaching is not all about technology and our world is not all about technology.  There is much more to the planet than the internet.  Children the age of this kid need to be outside more, using their energy and exploring the world around them.  They do not need to spend their day in front of a computer because by the time they are adults, that is what they will be spending most of their time doing.  Creativity and imagination in children is much stronger after they have played outside.  Studies have shown that test scores improve after physical activity as well.  Information from this website. You are only a child once.

Jennifer Chambers' Blog and
Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir

        Jennifer Chambers posted a link to a video with Eric Whitacre and 185 other people.  Eric Whitacre acted as the conductor and the other 185 people were the singers.  When I first saw the video, I thought it was trying to suggest that Whitacre was conducting this to all of these people at once, at the same time, but then I thought that would not be possible considering some people's internet might have lagged so they may have started singing later than others.
        So, I looked up how he did it and really he only asked people to submit videos of them singing their parts, such as soprano, alto, tenor, and bass and then had someone compile all of the videos together to create this one group song with Eric Whitacre playing the role of the conductor.  It was very well done and the music was touching.  I will not deny that it is amazing what can be done through the internet and this was a very innovative idea.

Teaching in the 21st Century by Kevin Roberts

        This video contains many questions and shows both sides to the debate of whether or not teaching with technology is good or bad.  Kevin Roberts claims that teachers are no longer the source of information, but rather the filter of information because students can look up anything, anytime, anywhere.  He is right in this regard.  He further insists that the use of these tools is not entertainment, but engagement.  I agree that engagement is a problem with students today but is it good to use tools that students are used to using for entertainment?  I guess it could be, but I feel like we are giving in with thoughts of, "OK, if we can't get you to focus any other way, we'll use something that has done well with keeping you entertained."
        If the world becomes as propelled by technology as everyone says it will be for these future generations, should kids be bombarded by technology and the constant use of internet now? I just feel schools need to give them something a little different if their current entertainment and future is going to be all about technology.  Don't let your whole entire class consist of your students sitting behind a computer screen.  People need variety in their lives.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Project 5 - Google Presentation

Special Assignment #1

  1.  Did you know about WolframAlpha? No.
  2.  Did you know about Google SquaredNo.
  3. What percentage of China's population is the population of the United States? about 23.6%
  4. What percentage of India's population is the population of the United States? about 25.3%
  5. Now what do you think of the facts reported in Do You Know? They are already outdated in just a few years time.  
  6. Do you think WolframAlpha and Google Squared will be useful for you? for your students? Why or why not? Yes, they can be useful to me as a social studies major because it deals with comparing societies and their population.  They could be useful for my students so they can understand just exactly how big the world is and how quickly it continues to grow.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

C4T #1

C4T Comment 1 on Jo Fothergill's Blog

        Jo Fothergill spoke about the Wellington Educamp in her latest post on her Blog .  She described the function as a fun event that consisted of many conversations.  She explained how she was amazed at how some students had great abilities in Scratch.  She was also inspired by one high school teacher's technique of making a blog about Shakespeare.  I left Jo Fothergill a comment asking her about what Scratch was and told her I was glad she had enjoyed the camp.  Jo Fothergill responded to my comment just a few hours later and told me that Scratch was, "a type of programming language that works a bit like lego blocks."  She also sent me a link to website that was all about Scratch.  Click here to go to the website she sent me.

C4T Comment 2 on Jo Fothergill's Blog

       The second comment I posted to Jo Fothergill's blog was on her post about "Life in Room 12."  She shared three videos in this post.  The first one was about Rohi the bird (a stuffed animal) who travels around New Zealand taking pictures with schoolchildren.  I thought this was a very clever, useful idea to get kids interested in other parts of their country.  They feel special when they take a picture with Rohi and then see him in an entirely different area of New Zealand.  An interesting idea might be to use this same idea, but make it at the global level.  What better way to get students interested in the world than this?  Jo Fothergill's second video showed all the technology devices in use around her classrooms, from iPod Touches to laptops it seems her classroom has access to loads of technology.  I was very glad to see her last video which showed her students reading books, drawing and creating art, having special guests in their classroom, and going outdoors.  It is not all about technology to her and I am glad for that.  My comment on Jo Fothergill's blog talked about her videos and how I enjoyed each of them and why (as I explained in the summary above).

Monday, June 6, 2011

Blog Assignment 3

A Vision of Students Today by Michael Wesch

        When I went to the University of Alabama my freshman year, I think this video was more the case.  Like the video said, many people would pay for classes and not even show up.  Others who came to class would bring their laptops to get on Facebook or the internet.  The classrooms at UA were just as big as in this video.  However, the classrooms at the University of South Alabama are much smaller and I have found that teachers are much more strict about computer use in their classrooms.  Therefore, at South, no this video is not completely what my college experience has been like.  I believe in nearly every class I have had at South, the teachers have made an effort to know my name.  About 92% of teachers at South have known me by name so far.  That percentage at the University of Alabama was much lower.
        I suppose this fact is something we should be concerned about, but I believe it is unavoidable at large state colleges like the University of Alabama and Kansas State University unless they were to hire a tremendous amount of more professors.  However, this would only cause student's tuition to rise even more.  There is no clear answer.  The choice is either to go to large college where a Ph.D. is required of professors and students remain mostly anonymous or go to a smaller college with easy-going professors who know your name.

It's Not About the Technology by Kelly Hines

        Kelly Hines is absolutely right.  Like I have said before, I do not think teachers should have to be technologically literate in the classroom.  Yes, they should be outside the classroom so they can know what their students are up to in the 21st century.  A teacher could be technologically literate in the classroom but be a horrible teacher! In fact, I have had just these kinds of teachers.  It is not about what technology you have, it is about the quality and creativity the teacher outputs.  Just because students "respond better" to technology in the classroom does not make it a better thing.  In my opinion, it just makes the students lazier.  School can be challenging and stressful and boring at times but I feel like by giving students computers and interactive games in order for them to learn is the easy way out.  For thousands of years philosophy and education has been based on plain text and lecturers and look where it has gotten us.
        Like Kelly Hines said, it is a wonderful thing if a good teacher has technology at their fingertips in the classroom but it could be a total waste of money if a bad teacher has this technology at their fingertips.  I am not saying we should become primitive and reject technology, I just do not think we should forget about the traditional way of doing things.

Is It Okay To Be A Technologically Illiterate Teacher? by Karl Fisch

        I believe Karl Fisch is being a little too extreme to claim that a teacher who is technologically illiterate today is comparable to a teacher who could not read and write 30 years ago.  I have had some very old teachers in college, one (which I had last Fall) who had been teaching at the University of South Alabama since the late 1970's.  From what I could tell by his teaching method and overall take on things, he was not technologically literate.  However, he knew vast amounts of information and had been to so many places.  He was an interesting teacher and just because he did not use technology, that did not make me less interested.  In the 21st century, I do not think I should condemn him for being "socially unacceptable" as a technologically illiterate man.  Yes, he is from a completely different generation, but that is OK.
        I can understand Fisch's argument for the problem with teachers being technologically illiterate and I believe this is definitely true for younger teachers.  We are growing up in an age where it will be "socially unacceptable" to be technologically illiterate, but we are not at that point yet.  However, I do not think there is any problem with my generation and upcoming generations when it comes to technology.  We have grown up with computers and know how to use them effectively.  Because of this, we will continue to use the latest technology because we grew up in a society that called for that.  By the time my generation is in the teaching field, I do not think there will be any problem with us "learning and adapting" to our students' new technology. We will be right there with them.
        Maybe I am biased in my opinion because I am a social studies major and this major focuses heavily on history.  I am fascinated with the old.  History and technology, it seems, are at opposite ends of the spectrum.  History tells how we got to the present and technology is the present.  History is old, technology is new.  It is important to me that students know where and how they came to be where they are, so I want to keep the traditional classroom all while being a tech-savvy teacher.  I can know what my students are talking about when they bring up technology but I can keep my classroom simple.  Maybe you do not think this is possible, but I do.

Two street signs reading past and present

Social Media Count by Gary Hayes

        It is amazing how much happens in just a few seconds.  The amount going on through Facebook alone is stunning.  Not only is the world's human population growing every second but the people of my generation do multiple things at a quicker pace.
        As a future teacher, I should realize how busy my student's lives will be, how much they will use the internet, and how used to multitasking they will be.  I find myself doing too much at once sometimes and I miss the simplicity of only worrying about one thing at a time.  I realize the real world will not be like this, but I want to make my classroom a place where time slows down and the students are required to focus on one thing at a time.  It should be a sanctuary where students can place their full attention on the subject at hand.  I will make it creative and interesting enough to capture their full, multitasking attention.