Sunday, December 4, 2011

Blog Assignment 14

Box of Tricks logo.

For this week we were assigned to check out Jose Picardo's blog titled Technology and Education Box of Tricks.  The blog is set up differently than  most of the blogs we have visited this semester.  Most of the other blogs read like a scroll.  You just scroll down and there is the archive of the blog.  This one is set up much more like a website homepage prompting you to click into different articles.  I think it's a nice change of pace.  You can tell the writer of the blog is very technologically advances because the website is intricate.

One of the best features on this blog is the link he has provided for resources for teachers.  When you go to this page it is an alphabetical list of exactly what it claims to be, educational resources.  Its great all kinds of programs and websites for teachers to use.  He also provides a brief description of what the resource is next to each entry.

He also has a great YouTube video called "Top ten tips for using technology in the Classroom." He offers a lot of good advice like using music, blogs, Skype, and YouTube.  He says that it is very relatable to the students to use technology in the class room. We have used most of the mediums he suggests in the video in our EDM310 class.  It's a good video and a great website.  I am definitely adding it to my PLN.

Final Report on my PLN

Well, my PLN (Personal Learning Network) has grown a lot over the past semester in EDM310.  It is very important as an educator to have a rich PLN.  Constantly getting new information and learning how to be a better teacher should be a top priority.  I have been using my bookmark tabs to keep up with all the blogs that I follow and other websites I like to frequent.  At the behest of one of my group members from Team Gryffindor, Adrienne Babb, I have recently started using Symbaloo.  It works great as a homepage.  What Symbaloo does is it allows you to to place tiles on your homepage for all of your bookmarks.  I have a lot of the blogs that I follow on there along with other websites I use a lot like twitter, South Alabama's home page, and Blogger.  I can also put some of my personal websites on there as well like facebook, yahoo sports, amazon, and YouTube.

I have learned a lot in this class this semester.  I have learned a lot about becoming an educator and what you must do in order to be a successful one.  An enriching PLN is crucial in this process.  I will always be continually looking for ways for my PLN to grow.  I love to learn so this network is very important to me.

C4T post 4

iLearn Technology logo

For the last C4T of the semester I was assigned Kelly Tenkely's blog iLearn Technology.  The blog is all about integrating technology in the classroom.  The first post I commented on is titled "Quixey: Your go-to app search for ALL platforms!" In this post she writes about how finding apps can be and arduous task if you don't know specifically what you are looking for. She says that Quixey uses a "functional search" process that searches for apps by device and type.  She says it is great for use in the classroom because it works so quickly and is very easy to navigate.  Here's a link to the Quixey website check it out for yourself!  Works great! 

My comment: Thanks for this post.  I use Apple products and it can be very difficult sometimes navigating the app store.  This is a great search option.  Thanks again!

The second post I commented on in the blog was titled "Friday Recap: poems, painting and an app." The blog started off with a brilliant poem written by a 5th grade student named Emma at Anastais Academy.   The poem was in the style of "Twas the Night Before Christmas" but this poem was titled "Twas the Night Before Braces." It's really funny be sure to go over and see it on the iLearn Technology blog.  The blog then goes on to recap what she has been up to for the past few days.  She has pictures of some of the paintings some students made of pencils taught to them by a local artist.  Looks like they had a great time. Because the blog did not really express an opinion I didn't really have much to say in my comment.

My comment: "That poem is great!  Its awesome to see young minds at work."

C4K post 3

clipart kids

For my first C4K of this month I was assigned to comment on Mr. McClung's class blog.  The post I was assigned was one from 10/17 and it had to do with "The Divine Right of Kings." In the post Mr. McClung talks exactly about what the title suggests.  He provides a quote from King James IV of Britain, from 1609.  Where King James talks about how the kings should be viewed as gods because God himself views them as gods.  Looking through some of the other posts from this blog I wish I could have been assigned another like the one about Ben Folds, I love his music, or "The Onion," one of my favorite websites and also one of America's finest news sources.  I was confused a little because it appears that Mr. McClung himself was the author, but I left a comment anyway.

My Comment: "Hi, I am also a student in Dr. Strange’s EDM310 class at the University of South Alabama. I am planning on being an English teacher, and when teaching pieces from this time it will be important to show how kings were viewed by their citizens. Thanks."

In the second post for this month we were assigned different posts in Mrs. Yollis' Classroom Blog.  I was assigned to comment on a post that was first posted back in October.  This post was about the students in her class Skyping with some other students all the way across he manifest of the United States in Connecticut.  In the skype session the students from Mrs. Yollis' class presented the students in Connecticut with facts about California then in turn received facts about Connecticut from the students.  They also shared many other things like favorite recess games, classroom mascots, and other traditions that the classes participate in.  It looks like they had a lot of fun!

My Comment: "Mrs. Yollis, I'm a student in Dr. Strange's EDM310 class at the University of South Alabama.  I really enjoyed reading this post.  It looks like the students in both classrooms  had a great time.  I love your blog.  It has really taught me a lot about using blogging as a tool in my future classroom.  This was a great activity that makes learning fun.  Thanks!" 

In the last C4K this month I was assigned Sarona who is a student at the Pt England School in Auckland, NZ.  She is in room 14 and her latest post was about an assembly she attended at school. The assembly was about space.  Apparently the teachers in the school had broken up into teams and presented different things about space to the students. Groups presented movies, dance numbers, and other fun facts about space.  It sounds like she had a great time.  

My Comment: "Hi Sarona.  It sounds like you had a lot of fun in the assembly.  Space is really fun to learn about.  You did a good job writing this post.  Keep up the good work!  Have a great week!"

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Blog Assignment 13

For this weeks blog post we had a number of options to choose from.  I decided that I would read this rather lengthy article from the Wall Street Journal titled "My Teacher is an App."

girl with computer

Wow, what a great read.  The article talks about online learning in the public school system. Basically what is happening is there are these online schools that children can attend as opposed to going to a regular classroom.  There are also hybrid schools where learning is done online and infused with teacher contact in short lecture form and one on one communication.  Please read this, it's astounding.  Also watch the video in the article.

The article points out that while most school districts see benefit in online learning there is a cost.  Now cost here is used twice over.  1. It saves the school districts money by outsourcing.  Online learning is cheaper and with all of the budget cuts in our current economy it is an option that is unfortunately beneficial to the school system.  2.  It is costing the students by reflecting poorer test scores than those taught in a traditional classroom.  There are pros and cons to both sides of the argument.  On one side there is opportunity in online schooling to progress at your own rate whether it is faster or slower than one's peers. On the other side, online schooling is not for everyone.  It is not a model where all students can excel, it can hinder their learning.  The article goes on to show that a method that seems to work best is the more hybrid approach where students have teachers they can meet face to face with and they also do work online. Even though the children in the article from this school had only taken one standardized test, which they did excel at but just one test should not be the basis for saying that something is working well or not.

This article really perplexes me.  I mean I am pro technology in the classroom.  I also think that it is great for education.  But it does worry me.  Will I be replaced by a machine? The problem is technology, essentially, if you think about it.  Technology has replaced a number of jobs otherwise held by actual people. Unemployment is rampant. The middle class is disappearing.  I'm just worried to see where it will lead.  And where will I be in this equation? I think the article points out that the most effective use of online learning so far still envolves active relationships with teachers and other students.  It is important in our social development to develop relationships with peers and teachers in order to be accepted in society and make us marketable as future workers.  But, if a movement of hybrid online education does reveal as the best medium for the classroom of the future it's a good thing I took this class so I can make myself relevant in an environment where technology so heavily influences the daily goings-on.  To tell you the truth, we should have more classes like this.  It's essential.          

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Update on Final Assignment

For our final assignment Team Gryffindor decided that we are going to make in instructional video for non-traditional students taking EDM310.  That is specifically students who are parents, have a fulltime job, or have responsibilities that make college not their primary focus.  It is going to consist of valuable tools we have found that help in the class and also advice on taking the course that we have found helpful.  It is going to be very fun for us.  My teammates in Team Gryffindor are Adrienne Babb, Ashley Cohen, and Pamela Boykin.  Looking forward to it! 

Also, I chose this picture for this blog because I thought it was hilarious and I couldn't really think of any other picture to use. We have to have a picture right? Hope you like it!

picture of dog with raised hand with caption it was me i let the dogs out

Blog Assignment 12

iTunes U logo

In this weeks blog assignment we were instructed to come up with our own assignment for the  EDM310 class and then do it.  We have talked a lot about podcasts and podcasting in EDM310, we have also been told about iTunes U.  But basically we were just told that it exists and we did not have an assignment that dealt directly with iTunes U.  I have found that it is one of the best things I have found to obtain more and new information.  iTunes U is a place where there are a multitude of strictly educational podcasts. Colleges from all over the world post lectures and podcasts to iTunes U.  Schools like Yale and Harvard post to iTunes U.  

The assignment I propose is to find a podcast that is relevant to you.  I.e. about one of the classes you are currently taking, or dealing with your specification. Like for me English, or education in general.  I am currently taking a sociology class(Dr. Marshall) that I am very interested in, it would be acceptable in the assignment for me to look up a podcast about sociology.  After finding said podcast subscribe and listen to the most recent submission from that podcast.  Then write a post about why you chose that particular podcast and what the most recent episode was about.


In order to use this you must first, if you don't already have it, download iTunes.  Very easy to do, just go to  and simply follow the downloading instructions.  You will also have to make an apple account, also very simple the instructions for that will be provided in iTunes.  All of Apple's interfaces and products are exceptionally user friendly.  

After this task is accomplished open iTunes and go to the iTunes store located along the left had side of the window.  Then once in the iTunes store follow the link along the top of the screen titled "iTunes U" then have fun searching around the store and finding a podcast relevant to you.  Now, you may be thinking, "Store?!? Am I going to have to buy something?" The answer is no, all of the podcasts I know of are totally free. 

After listening to the most recent episode of the podcast you selected write a post about why you selected that particular podcast and what the episode was about.

My take on the assignment:

60-Second Adventures in Thought logo

For this assignment the podcast I chose was "60-Second Adventures in Thought."  I thought this would be a good podcast to use in my future classroom as some type of bell-ringer type activity where the students would watch an episode(only 60 seconds right?) and then write a paragraph of reflection about the ideas in the video.  

The episode I watched was called "The Grandfather Paradox" which was about time travel.  It suggests that if a man were to go back in time before his parents were born and kill his grandfather what would happen?  If he did kill his grandfather then one of his parents would have never come into existence thus he wouldn't come into existence.  It was very fun to watch and also thought provoking.  Great podcast, lots of fun! Check it out!       

C4K 10 - Part 1

Mrs. Yollis' Classroom Blog 

Mrs. Yollis' class blog logo

In the first part of this week's C4K assignment we are supposed to have a thorough look at the workings of Mrs. Yollis' classroom blog.  Mrs. Yollis' is a third grade teacher for a school in a suburb of Los Angeles, CA.  One of the best features of Mrs. Yollis' blog is that it serves two purposes.  Not only is it used by her students to learn about blogging, but it can be used by other educators as a guide for how to use blogging in the classroom.  On the homepage of Mrs. Yollis' blog there are links at the top that provide information for others on how to comment, write HTML code, and shooting digital images.  She also has links provided to her personal website.  Which is a very helpful website for the parents of students in her class and also a great site for other educators.  Her personal website has all kinds of links to other educational blogs and also links for parents to activities to engage in with their children.

Some of the other tabs/links on Mrs. Yollis' blog include a link to her "Time Zone Friends." Which is a page containing clocks telling what time it is for her friends with other blogs and friends of the blog.  You can also follow a link to learn about California and there is another link where you can meet the students in her third grade class which is comprised of twenty-two students, eleven boys and eleven girls.  She also has a ticker that tracks where and how many visitors the blog has had.  It's a world map that is lit up from visitors all around the world.

Mrs. Yollis' blog is very impressive.  She has deservingly received a number of accolades for her work with the blog.   Like I said earlier one of the most impressive things about her blog is that she teaches with it two-fold.  It is an invariable "classroom blogging for dummies" guide.  I find all of the information on her blog very helpful.  Not only have a favorited the classroom blog, but also her personal blog for me to use in my PLN.  I implore you to have a look see at her blog, you can follow the link at the top of this post, or use this lazy link here. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Project 14- Skype Interview

Blog Assignment 11

First Graders in Ms. Cassidy's Class 

Little kids... Big Potential
The first part of this assignment was a video posted by Ms. Cassidy on YouTube.  The video is titled, if you haven't already guessed, is "Little Kids... Big Potential." Ms. Cassidy is a first grade teacher in Moose Jaw, Canada.  In the video she shows all of the things that the children in her classroom are doing with technology.  She has done a great job integrating technology into her classroom.  Her students use all kinds of things like, wiki's, skype, Nintendo DS, and blogging.  She shows the children using all of these technological tools effectively.

The second part of this assignment was for us to watch a Skype interview between Dr. Strange, some of his students, and Ms. Cassidy.  In the first part of the interview Dr. Strange interviews Ms. Cassidy about what she is doing in her classroom and what role technology plays in her classroom.  In the second half of the interview some former EDM310 ask Ms. Cassidy a number of questions dealing with how she manages her classroom and the technology she uses there.  At the last of the interview she shows her backyard, which is covered in snow.  Not something we are used to down here on the gulf coast.  The interview is about 35 mins long and you can check it out using this lazy link here.

I think that Ms. Cassidy is doing great work.  It is great to see what we are learning in this class in action.  In the second part of this assignment, the interview with Ms. Cassidy,  she says that technology and children go hand in hand.  I agree with this thought.  It is without a doubt, in my mind, the most relatable way to reach out to children on their level.  It makes learning fun.  Also in the interview Ms. Cassidy says that the children don't have to "power down" when they come to school.  I think that the sooner this concept is widely accepted the better.  I am definitely going to have a blog for my classroom and I will have my students create blogs to practice their writing skills.      

Additional Post 1

Metaphors: What They Are and Why We Use Them 

In this blog post Dr. Strange alerts the EDM310 community about some of the things we missed in "Tom Johnson's" blog post "Pencil Integration."  Here's where I messed up.  I did not realize that Tom Johnson was a pseudonym for John Spencer.  Dr. Strange goes on to point out several of the metaphors in Mr. Johnson's post.  First off the title of the blog "Pencil Integration" is a metaphor because we already use pencils in class rooms there is no need for them to be integrated. Conversely there is a need for technolog to be integrated in the classroom.  Dr. Strange points out that the metaphor here is to replace "pencils" in Mr. Johnson's post with "computers."  Dr. Strange goes on to provide for use many common metaphors that we can relate to in order to better understand the ones used in Mr. Johnson's post.  Dr. Strange also gives us links to why we should use metaphors and what the advantages can be.  If you follow the link in the title of this post you can find them too.  Or, if you're lazy just click here. 

book cover from Pencil me In

It was really awesome to see that John Spencer, author of Pencil me In: A Journey in the Fight for Graphite, acknowledged Dr. Strange and the efforts of the EDM310 class in his book.  Showing that the work we are doing in this class is not just busy work, but it is effective and the activities do make a difference.  Very inspiring.

So, I totally missed on this one.  I did not realize the pseudonym.  I did however, realize that it was a completely made up situation.  I should have expressed more of my thoughts about that in my initial post.  It was good for me to do this assignment.  I do have a much better understanding of things now and I know to pay more attention to detail.

C4K post 2 - October

The first blog I was assigned for this post was a blog for a class room at the Bailey Road School in New Zealand titled "Kids with a View."  I was also assigned to comment on the eighth blog from the top.  The post I landed on was a post prompting me to vote on the New Zealand flag debate.  Looks like New Zealand is considering changing their flag from their traditional blue with Union flag and four red stars to a black flag with a white silver fern(picture below).   My comment below the picture explains which I voted for and why.

New Zealand traditional flag and proposed new black flag

My comment: "Hi, I am one of the many students in Dr. Strange's EDM310 class at the University of South Alabama.  I voted for the black flag because it distinguishes your country from others.  It's different and that Union stamp is on a number of other flags.  I'll be keeping up with the news to see if the black flag wins out.  Thanks for the post."

The second kid I was assigned to comment on was Blake in Mrs. C's class blog.  His blog posts are short so there isn't much for me to say about them.  But I just encouraged him and gave him a little correction he needed to make. If you click on Blake's name you can go to his blog.

My comment:  "Hey Blake! I am a student at the University of South Alabama.  I was just looking at your blog.  It looks like you are really enjoying it.  I too love writing.  It is a great skill to have.  You may need to take a look at the title of this post.  It looks like you just switched a couple of letters around.  No big deal buddy.  Keep up the good work!"

The third assignment for C4K was for me to comment on Sohel's post in the Room 9@Pt England School blog.  She had made an animation about the Eiffel Tower and Paris using and animation software.  He post is about 15 posts down on the blog, but it is really well done and impressive considering her age.

My Comment: "Hey Sohel,  My name is Taylor and I am a student at the University of South Alabama in the United States.  I think you did a great job with your animation.  I can tell you worked very hard.  Good luck with school this year!"

For the fourth C4K assignment for this month I am innovating a little bit.  For some reason I lost my C4K comment from the second week of the month.  So I doubled up in week four.  I went to a different blog but from what looks like the same school in New Zealand as my previous post.  Here's a link to DJ's animation about Canadian beavers. You can tell he worked hard on the video.  Check it out!

My Comment: "Hey DJ, My name is Taylor Lane and I am also a student at the University of South Alabama.  I really enjoyed your animation and information about beavers in Canada.  I can tell that you worked very hard on it.  Good luck with school this year."

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Blog Assignment 10

Do You Teach or Do You Educate

The first assignment for the blog post this week was to watch this awesome video!  In the video it asks a simple questions as the title suggests.  It gives the dictionary definition of the word teacher. Then, in contrast, for the words educator, mentor, and guide.  I don't want to give it all away, so go watch the video.

I thought this video was very compelling.  It inspired me to think of being an educator not as a job, but as a way of life.  I want to be that teacher, you know that one.  The one that when my students look back at high school or middle school they think "Man, he was awesome." or "That guy really helped me, a lot."  I feel like in order to be that I can't just have a job that I go to and teach at.  I have to be an educator.  I have to be better than just an informant.  The video ends with a quote from Socrates that I liked a lot. "Education is not the filling of a vessel, but the kindling of a flame."

Tom Johnson's "Don't Let Them Take Pencils Home"

Annoyingly trite stock photograph
I love blogs like this!  In this post Mr. Johnson takes inspiration from a few experiences he's either been a part of or had a colleague relay to him.  He creates a post in the the style of Hemingway's "Hills like White Elephants" in that it is only dialogue and and there is no description.  It is a rather candid back and fourth between him and Gertrude, the School Curriculum Instructional Interventionist Academic Specialist, about not letting the children take the pencils home because she says it will lower test scores.  It is very well written and you should read it for yourself!

Did I already say that I love blogs like this, because if you hadn't already caught on to that it bears repeating.  I love blogs like this!  It is well written, there's sarcasm, and there's a message.  The message I gathered as I read was there's no use focusing on what is the cause of the problem without offering to provide a solution.  I am definitely going to read more from Mr. Johnson's blog.  Consider me subscribed.  Great stuff! 

C4T post 3

For this month's C4T assignment I have been given Kathy Cassidy's blog "Primary Preoccupation."  The first post I commented on is titled "Cultivating Connections the Primary Way."  In this post Mrs. Cassidy talks about using Skype and other blogging tools in her first grad classroom.  She says that these mediums of communication really excited and engage the children.  She goes on to say that getting feedback from different people around the world and around the country lends it's self to learning more because it sparks the children's curiosity.  It is a really great post and I am sure that I will use these tools in my classroom, but probably in a different way because I am going to be teaching secondary education.

My comment: "This is a great post!  I am currently enrolled in Dr. Strange's EDM310 class at the University of South Alabama.  This is exactly what we are learning about.  Using these forms of communication to spark excitement and creativity in our future students.  Thanks for giving examples and letting me see it in action."

The second post I commented on from Mrs. Cassidy's blog was titled "Students Posting Online: How Do You Do That?"  In this blog post Mrs. Cassidy talks about getting parents permission to have their young children posting things on the internet.  She goes through and explains exactly what it is they do, how the children are protected, and then executing the plan.  It turns out that it is a very safe process and she has a very thought out system in place.  Go read this blog! It is really good, especially if you are an elementary education major.  She's got a lot of good advice!

My Comment: "Hi, I am a student in Dr. Strange's EDM310 class at the University of South Alabama.  I really found your blog very helpful.  It is concerning having young children on the interent.  Your post really showed me how to execute a program that would allow me to do that.  I really enjoy reading what you have to say. Thanks."

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Blog Assignment 9

Joe McClung - What I Have Learned This Year

For this weeks blog assignment we are to read two post's from Joe McClung's blog "At the Teacher's Desk."  Two specific posts about what he learned in his first three years of teaching year by year, there are three separate posts. In this blog I will discuss two of the years, I chose the first two, but I read all three.

After his first year of teaching Mr. McClung says that he learned a "TON" of things.  He talks about the importance of communication in the workplace and with students.  He also says that listening to the students is very important.  More than just hearing the students but actually listening to them.  He says that hels build a needed student-teacher relationship which leads to getting respect.  Of course he stresses the importance of using technology in the classroom and encourages people to not be scared of technology.  He also talks about being reasonable as it pertains to our expectations of students.  He also stresses flexibility and an unquenchable thirst for knowledge.

I really got a lot out of this blog post.  It is nice to hear what someone has to say about what they have learned about teaching in their first year.  I will be a first year teacher soon enough and I know that this advice will help me out a lot.  I definitely have bookmarked this post for me to read again at another time.  I thought his advice was very practical and easy to relate to.

Teacher at Blackboard

In his second summary of "What I Learned this Year" Mr. McClung discusses everything in much further detail.  It is about twice as long as the first year's blog.  Which would lead me to believe that you learn a lot from every year.  Which I am excited about.  Well this year Mr. McClung has moved to a different school district and is teaching new subjects, which has presented a number of challenges.  In this post he gives advice about adapting, making boring things exciting, and selling what you're teaching to the students.  He also says, which I found amusing and helpful, to find the school mom.  What he means by that is to find the teachers who know the goings-on of the place and can really help you out.  Some of the other topics covered are about not being a controle freak and keeping scope of what is important.

I got a lot of good advice from this article.  I don't know how much I will be able to relate to having to change subjects so drastically as he had to, but I know that I will have to adapt.  I also know that I will have to seek out help because I'm sure I will be no different than every first year teacher, ambitious and drowning.  I saved this post as well.  Advice from experience is priceless.     

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Project 12 - Book Trailer - The Sneetches - Dr. Suess

Project 11 - Short Movie - Why I Want to be a Teacher

Blog Assignment 8

This is How We Dream - Parts 1 and 2 by Dr. Richard E. Miller

In part one Dr. Miller talks about how the way we teach and present information has changed.  He first talks about books, that they were printed on paper, written by one author, and stored in a library.  He goes on to say that form of publication and presentation is becoming irrelevant.  He then presents the new way in which publications are being presented.  Due to the technology available today world wide communication is possible instantaneously.  This allows for collaboration and also more enhanced documents to be readily available to anyone with an internet connection.  He talks about a transfer from documents solely containing printed words and static pictures to documents that contain print and also video and sound.  Allowing for a more stimulated learning experience for the reader and also allowing for more people to view the document because it is stored forever on the internet.

In the second part of the series Dr. Miller says that this form of technologically integrated documentation is, at the moment, not as widely used as he thinks it will become in the future.  He says that eventually students will stop presenting information just on word processing documents.  He says that there will be a shift from the flat form of documenting to the more integrated form.  He also talks about some of the works he has been publishing on the interent and using YouTube to get them popularized.  He says that this is a way of pushing ideas into our culture and claims that it is a much more effective way of doing so.  Because within three months of posting some of his work to YouTube he had over nine thousand views as opposed to submitting something to a journal in print that would not surface online for another two years. He says that this is just the beginning and there is much more to come.

I would encourage everyone to watch these videos.  It is very exciting to see where the world of education and learning is going.  Dr. Miller says that this is possible but that there needs to be inspired teachers to push for this.  I am excited to take on that charge as a future educator.  Presenting information in this way is much more engaging and appealing for everyone.  Why wouldn't the educational community be pushing for this and embracing it?  Like all things change takes time, plus it is exciting to be part of the movement. I know I will teach using integrated documentation and push my students to create and learn in the same fashion.

Carly Pugh's Blog Assignment 12 

Wow.  This is one impressive post.  You can tell that Carly worked really hard and put a lot of thought into this post.  I think her idea about making a YouTube playlist is great!  I watched Carly's playlist and thought it was great, very inspiring.  After reading her post it also inspired me to work a little harder and try to make my posts more informative.

In regards to what Dr. Miller talked about in his video's and comparing it to what Carly did in blog post 12 I feel is spot on!  I too am going to be an English teacher and my passion is in Literature.  I found a lot of the videos to be really helpful and I know that I will use them in my classroom.  I know that it is difficult to get teenagers interested in Literature but this is one way to make a good effort.  It makes a visually entertained audience exactly that, visually entertained while learning.  I think I will have a leg up in getting teens excited about Literature because I was one of those kids while in high school I just didn't get what the big deal was about writing and reading.  I thought it was all boring and didn't take much skill.  Needless to say, I was way wrong.  Knowing what I know now and using tools such as these I know I will be able to inspire and fifteen year old version of myself.

The Chipper Series and EDM310 for Dummies  

EDM310 for Dummies Book Cover

In the video EDM310 for Dummies the students really show how it feels to be in this class.  In the beginning it is so frustrating having to figure out how to use all this new stuff.  It's very overwhelming at first, but with time everything smoothes out and you realize, "Yes, I have I brain, I am smart, and with help I can do this."  The video just shows you that you're not alone, feeling helpless, but there is hope!  You can be taught.  You will learn.  You will be better for it!

The Chipper series is a series of clips in the life of a student, Chipper.  In the video she starts as a student in EDM310 who puts off her work.  Then becomes frustrated because she isn't doing the work and is getting bad grades.  Then she opens a failed pilots school, gets a degree online, gets a job as a teacher, gets fired for not coming to school, gets another job as a waitress, and gets fired again.  Then she tries to get a job as a nanny, fails at that and then lands on becoming a garbage collector.  She finally decides to take school seriously in the end, get her masters degree and stop procrastinating.  The point of the video is don't be lazy and do it right the first time.  At least that's what I think.

Learn to Change, Change to Learn  

This is another video enforcing the fact that technology has a significant role in the classroom of today and of the future.  The video talks about how the way things have been done in schools for the past hundred years has to change because our world has changed.  The job market is not catered to teaching excelling on standardized tests.  The job market tests a students ability to adapt, create, collaboriate, and live in a ever changing society.

This video really encapsulates what it is that we are learning through this course of study in EDM310.  It is good to know that educators coming out of the University of South Alabama have no choice but to be technologically literate.  That they will be encouraged to use networked learning in their classrooms because it is how we will learn from this point forward.  I thought this video was great.  I know I will watch it more than once in the future.  


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Project 10 - PLN

PLN people holding puzzle pieces

Let's start by defining what is a PLN.  A PLN is an acronym for Personal Learning Network. It is the tools you use for help, reference, collaboration, inspiration, and other assistance.  We have been encouraged to develop a strong PLN in EDM310 and have been provided a number of opportunities to develop a strong PLN.  One of the biggest tools that I am currently using is Twitter. When I first started using twitter I just used it for personal reasons and never thought it would ever benefit me in my professional life.  Man was I wrong about that one.  There are so many ways people use twitter in the education community.  I also be sure to look for and follow all of the assigned teachers for our C4T projects.  I currently am not using Symabloo or any other site to have my PLN on one page.  Like I said I use twitter and any of the blogs that I want to follow I follow on Blogger or save them in Google Chrome as a favorite and they are all listed on my home screen.  I would say that my PLN is still a work in progress.  But, then again, it probably always will be there will never be a time when I will want to cease learning and growing.  An expanding PLN is and always will be part of that process.  

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Blog Assignment 7

Randy Pausch's Last Lecture

Book Cover The Last Lecture

If you do anything, ever, please watch this YouTube video! I could not have been more wrong about what I thought this video was going to be.  Let me explain.  Before watching this video I had read Randy Pausch's book "The Last Lecture." My thoughts on the book although sympathetic were not very cordial to be frank.  To further explain this let me give some background.  Dr. Pausch was a great teacher in the field of computer science, specializing in virtual reality. In 2008, the year in which he died, Dr. Pausch was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  This is the most deadly form of the disease.  He was basically given about three to six months of healthy living before things would take a turn for the worse and he would inevitably die.  So, for his children to have something to remember him by he gave and wrote "The Last Lecture," appropriately titled because he was a professor.

Like I said, don't think I'm a heartless jerk, I was very sympathetic to the situation.  I know that everyone has a family member that has been victim to cancer in one form or another, I have.  But, after reading the book I thought I had been dooped.  Here is, supposedly, this book that would tug at my heart strings and reveil these unknown truths about the universe.  I was supposed to be blown away.  I was not.  He refers to this in the video, but he confesses his arrogance.  It comes off as a self-depreciating joke in the video, but in the book it comes across, to me, as arrogance.  He also talks about "head-fake" teaching.  Which refers to teaching without someone knowing they are being taught.  It's a "head-fake."  I thought I had been head-faked when I read the book, but not that I was taught something but almost like I had been played.  I thought, here's this guy playing to the emotions of the public and putting out this book where basically all he talks about is how great he was.  His advice came across as, and I'm using artistic license here, "I got it(life) right.  Look at me and how smart I am.  Do it my way or you'll be wrong."

Now, about this, after watching the video I feel like I was proved wrong.  He was sincere and humble in the video.  He gave credit where it was due.  It was touching.  Maybe this is because I could see him, hear his inflection, and he was real.  Let me say this, I could not have been more wrong about how I perceived the book.  In my wrap up blog from C4T there is a blog about perception by Justin Tarte called "What do you see...?" read it.  My perception was off the mark when I was reading and after I had read the book.

What Dr. Pausch was doing was leaving something behind for his family, his legacy.  Now, could this have been left alone in a letter to his children and just have had the video to go along with it?  Wouldn't that have been enough for them?  I say yes.  But he wrote a book and sold it, and made a lot of money for his family. I thought this was a little cheap, playing the emotional card.  I mean thousands of people die from cancer and don't publish books about how great they were and what they had learned from life.  But to his credit, he is a smart guy, he did play the emotional card and he did have a lot of good advice to give.  Now, to Forrest Gump's eternal credit, his family can say "we don't have to worry about money no more.  And I said, 'That's good! One less thing.'"

All that being said, watch the video.  It'll change your life.   

Saturday, October 8, 2011

C4T post 2

Justin Tart : High Expectations

buck staring up a tree

In my second round of C4T I was assigned Justin Tart's - "Life of an Educator..." blog. It appears he is a first year administrator. In his blog post "High Expectations" he talks about the expectations we place on students. He poses the question "if or whether we should personalize our expectations of our students. Should we 'standardize' high expectations and expect all students to follow the same set of expectations, or should we "personalize" the expectations to meet our students at their own individual levels and abilities...?" He then gives an example of two students, one from a stable home with two supportive parents and another from a broken home where support is absent. He asks if it's fair to hold these students to the same standard. Or should we personalize the expectations to meet the needs of the individual student at their current levels. He does not really offer an opinion on the matter but just simply asks "What do you think?"

My comment: "Thanks for the thoughts. I'm not yet a teacher, but I am studying to be one. The thought of where my expectations should fall for my students is provoking. After reading some of the other comments I'd tend to agree that high expectations should be set for all students. I don't necessarily think it's realistic to believe that they can all reach a uniform requirement of expectation. Individually harvest knowledge in them to the best of your ability and hopefully have that manifest into a positive product."

The second of Justin Tart's blog posts I commented on was titled "What do you see... ?"  The blog was mainly just a bunch of questions about the daily goings-on of a teacher and how they are perceived by each individual teacher.  For example, he proses a question about lunch duty.  He asks if the teacher sees it as just another part of the job or as an opportunity to work on student-teacher relationships.  He also provides many more questions about perceptions of the job of an educator, either about the mundane duties of a teacher or about the challenging problems teachers face.

I really liked this blog post.  I made a copy of the text for when I start teaching just to remind myself that there are plenty of chances to take a negative situation and make it a positive one.  It also encouraged me to make the most out of every opportunity no matter the situation.  Because this post was just mainly a list of questions for actual educators to ponder over it didn't really leave me much room for comment as I am not currently an employed educator and I don't have any life experience to reflect upon in order to provide any insight to the subject.  Nevertheless, my comment is posted below.

"This is a great reminder of how to continually keep a fresh look at perspective.  I know that I will read this again in the future to make sure mine stays refreshed and that I stay focused. "  

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Blog Assignment 6

The Networked Student by Wendy Drexler 

This video is about how he modern day student is more connected to different outlets of learning than they ever have been.  This is due to the advancements in the world of technology and the advancements in the world of education.  Educators are sharing their knowledge on a whole new medium.  Whether it is through using a blog, podcasts, YouTube, or iTunes U.  This makes it possible for students to make a learning network, which is a place the student can go for reliable sources of information. The video talks about how it is the teachers responsibility to help guide the student in this process of building a personal learning network, or PLN.  The video also poses the question: "Why does a networked student even need a teacher?"

I found this video to be very interesting.  When the question about whether or not a networked student needs a teacher is brought up it made me think.  At first I thought, well, I guess not.  But after thinking about it for a few seconds I thought, well, absolutely.  Think about it, suppose there were no teachers, who would be building the content of the PLN?  Also, there needs to be someone to monitor what information is being processed by the student.  I thought the use of the phrase "information concierge" for teacher was a good one.

A 7th Graders Personal Learning Environment (or PLE) 

PLN Symbaloo

In this video an anonymous seventh grader talkes about her personal learning environment.  She refers to this process as networked learning and how she goes about cultivating her PLE.  She has all of her information that she has gathered from all over the internet for her science class on one personal page.  She also has her personal things on the same page, like her favorite music, movies, websites, and other downloads.  I thought this was great because the page serves a dual purpose and it encourages learning to be part of life, as opposed to only learning in school.  She also talks about some of the projects she has worked on.  She talkes about using Google Docs, Evernote, Presentation, and a Glogster.  A glogster is a digital poster.  She then talks about how she really likes to learn using networked learning.  She says that she gets more freedom to learn how she would like, and that the freedom encourages responsibility.

In comparison to this 7th grade students PLE my PLN is not even close.  It has encouraged me to do more research and increase my PLN.  I am very glad that I am able to take this class so I can learn more about network learning so I can use that when I teach.  Even though I am planning on teaching English I know that technology will play a major role in my teaching.

Podcast - Team Gryffindor

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

C4K Post 1

coloring book picture of children


The first student I was assigned was a girl named Chelsea who is a year 7 student at Pt England School in Auckland, NZ. She is also in room 21. Here's a link to her blog: Chelsea. I commented on her post about Silly Sports Day. Which was basically like any other field day, with sponge races and other games. I thought it was really neet that her school had a tea time in the morning. Anyway, sounds like she had a lot of fun.

This is my comment: "Hey Chelsea! My name is Taylor and I'm a student at the University of South Alabama. I'm studying to be a teacher. It's great to see that you have a blog and are learning how to use this form of communication! I'm glad you had so much fun on silly sports day. When I was a kid we had something similar that we called field day, because we spent the day on the field and did all kinds of games like the ones you played. I thought it was really cool that you have tea time in school. That's not something we do in America, but it sounds like it'd be a lot of fun! Well, I hope you have a great school year and learn as much as you can!"


The second student I was assigned was only identified as an2011.  I'm know it is best to have identifiable young children out on the internet.  But it sounds like an2011 has a good life.  Her post was titled "about me" and it was very colorful.  Every six words or so she changed the color from one bring neon color to the next.  She talks about spending time with her family, doing flips on rollerskates, and going boogie boarding and surfing.  There wasn't much I could comment about other than to encourage her and tell her that I'm happy that she has such a good life.

Here's my comment: "Hi! I'm a university student at the University of South Alabama.  I like how colorful your blog post is!  It sounds like you have a very fun life and enjoy doing a lot of fun activities.  It is very impressive how you can do flips on rollerskates.  I would never try that. I live by the water too and I love to boogie board and surf.  I'm glad you have a good home life and a happy family!"


The third C4K blog that was assigned to me was "Letters to Lucy" a slideshow on Mr. Capps' blog for his class.  Mrs. Lucy Buffet generously donated ipads to the students at this school.  The slideshow is thank you notes written for the children to Mrs. Lucy for her generous donation.  They are all really touching and it was a very generous thing for Mrs. Lucy to have done that. I was assigned Vatzana.  Her thank you note thanked Mrs. Lucy for the field trips she has provided for and the new electronics.

My comment: Vatzana, Hi! My name is Taylor and I am also in EDM310 at USA.  You did a great job with your thank you note to Mrs. Lucy! She sure did a very sweet thing for you guys.  I know you are going to learn a lot on the field trips you love so much.  I also know you are going to learn a lot using all that new technology.  Be sure to take advantage of these opportunities to learn!

Here's a link to the Letters to Lucy.


The last student I was assigned was Brooke. She is a 7th grade student from Ontario, Canada.  She talked about how she was new to blogging. Then she listed a few of her favorite things, which included chocolate milk, pasta, and basketball.  Not so good it you mis them together, but all great things separately.  Unfortunately this didn't give me much to comment on, so I just left her some encouraging words.

My comment: Hi Brooke, I am a university student from the University of South Alabama in the United States.  Great post about you! Keep up the good work!  Learning to blog is a great skill to learn.  It will help you a lot in the future.  Not only in your personal life but it can help you out professionally as well.  Hope you have a great year!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Blog Assignment 5

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

In this blog post Scott McLeod talks about all the dangers of technology.  It's a very ironic post, sarcastic, and I love it.  When he does is after talking bad about all the ways you could use technology and how it could be bad.  For example, he presents the idea that why teach students to social network or use the internet at all because there are predators out there.  The post is full of things like that.  Then at the end he says don't do any of it please.  He then says because he is with all of his students and he can't wait to see who has a leg up in the next couple of decades.  I mean, all I can say is well done.  I loved everything about this post.

I also found out, by google-ing it, that Scott McLeod is also a co-creator of the "Did You Know?" videos that we watch for class.  Also, there is another famous Scott McLeod out there.  He was the bass player for 90's euro-rock band Oasis.  They, unfortunately, are not the same person.

Here is the comment I left on his blog: “Dr. McLeod, I am a student in Dr. Strange’s EDM310 class at the University of South Alabama.  I thought your article was fantastic.  It is unfortunate that some educators are refusing to embrace the future.  I think that the direction technology is moving in should be revolutionizing the way we teach and learn.  I have a limitless supply of information at the tips of my fingers at all times.  Thanks for the post.”

The iSchool Initiative and ZeitgeistYoungMind's Entry by Travis Allen

In these video's Travis Allen, in the first video he's a high school senior and the second he's a college student, talks about the way technology should be integrated with our classrooms moving forward.  He says that the public education system is broken with teachers not being hired back, budget cuts, and growing classroom size.  He says we have to embrace change and he gives examples of how.  He presents the iSchool Initiative in which teachers and students use the iPod Touch in the classroom instead of traditional books, pens and paper.  He shows how this device would streamline the process and make the student-teacher-parent relationship more seamless than ever.

I think he is completely right.  As previously stated, I think technology should be revolutionizing the way we teach and the way we learn.  I think that more technology would be something that would make learning fun again for students.  Not only that, it will prepare them for life and a career much better than a curriculum that is void of technology.  I mean presently you practically have to be a computer engineer to understand point of sale systems that are used in every retail and restaurant job.  We would be robbing students if we leave technology absent in the classroom.  

Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir - 'Lux Aurumque'

In this video composer Eric Whitacre uses YouTube to form a choir.  There are 185 members from 12 countries that comprise the choir and they all perform the song 'Lux Aurumque.'  The trick is that they don't perform together, each individual performs their own separate part in their own home/space apart from the others.  In the performance all the members are featured in a choir setting but instead of their bodies being physically present its the webcam captured video of them performing the song.  It's a beautiful song and a very impressive video.

Virtual Choir

I'm pretty sure I'm going to approach this post differently than most.  Knowing a little bit about recording music the fact that this was actually recorded is not what is most impressive.  In most recording sessions the individual track is laid for every piece of the band.  Guitar has it's own track, as do each individual vocal performances, this song is just on a more grandiose scale.  Now, it has to be a logistical nightmare, but not that different than the recording of every other song.  What impresses me the most about this video is that the members are from 12 different countries.  This shows that the internet is much more of a global community.  It affords our society to interact with other societies.  Which is an integral part about learning about our own.  Nothing should be taken for granted.  This is changing the world.  In my opinion it should do nothing but enrich our lives.  Awesome way of using the internet.

In this video created by Kevin Roberts he discusses and raises some questions about teaching in the 21st century.  He presented the idea that with technology and information so readily at the fingertips of the populous that teachers are no longer the main source of information.  Rather, teachers are now the filter for students.  That teachers should be teaching responsibility and critical thinking skills integrated with the use of the exponentializing information found using technology.  He also charges teachers to instead of viewing these things (netbooks, iPads, cellphones) as merely forms of entertainment to be looked at as tools.  He says that students don't need to be entertained to learn, but they need to be engaged to learn.  Technology is a prompt for engagement.  Through engagement forms creativity and through creativity enhances problem solving.  Lastly, he asks teachers to start small and reminds them that the start my be tough but like everything else resistance to change is inevitable.

I do agree with Mr. Roberts in his presentation.  It not relevant any more to just teach facts because facts are on the other end of my phone at all times.  Facts are important but in today's world being able to find the facts, think creatively and critically, and solve problems are of the same importance.  Teaching students to make smart and informed decisions about life is important.  Teaching students how to live in the world is more practical than teaching them just about the world without engagement is folly.  Knowing how to live in the world is much more important than just knowing the fact that there is a world.