Thursday, September 27, 2012

Blog Post #5

Travis Allen- The iSchool Initiative

In this video, Travis Allen, a then 17 year old, talks about his idea called the iSchool Initiative. The iSchool Initiative embraces the notion of a "paperless" classroom. If a school were to use Travis's idea then every child would need an iTouch to hold textbooks, homework assignments, etc. Travis argues that, with the iSchool, less money would be spent because, basically, everything that a student would need could be purchased as an app. Take, for instance, scientific calculators. Most high school students are required to have a scientific or graphing calculator and if a student was enrolled in a school participating in the iSchool Initiative, then they would have their calculator on their iTouch. Other useful apps that are mentioned in the video include Chemical Touch, an informative periodic table, U.S. Constitution, a digital copy, WorldWiki, where they could access maps and globes, and various other helpful and resourceful apps. Also, the iTouch's basic apps would come in handy. The email application would allow teachers, students and parents to send and receive homework assignments, schedules, grades, etc. while the Notes app would work for student to use in class as opposed to a pencil and paper.

Call me old school but for elementary age students I don't believe that the iSchool Initiative would work. However, if I were a high school or even middle school teacher, I would seriously consider talking to my principal about participating in a trial of the iSchool Initiative. I think it's a great idea that would keep students engaged and even organized. I know, personally, it was hard as a high schooler to keep all of my papers, tests, assignments, books, and everything else that could possibly fit in a book-bag, together. With the use of the iTouch, everything that students need would be in the palm of their hand. I also love the fact that their iTouch would be limited to only educational sites and that students and teachers would be totally accountable for assignments and grades. This would promise that students wouldn't be able to access sites that were distracting and did not pertain to their studies.

In the other video, I learned that Travis and a group of 25 college students travel to schools educating principals and teachers about the iSchool Initiative. Some schools have already adopted Travis's plan. Overall, I think the iSchool Initiative would be a great way to integrate more technology into a 21st century classroom to promote more flexible learning styles that adhere to every student's individual needs.

Eric Whitaker's Virtual Choir

While watching this video, I sat with dropped jaw, staring at the computer. I'll go ahead and say that I'm not a person that just "gets" technology; I wasn't born with that gift. So when I watched this video, I couldn't quite wrap my head around the fact that this 2052 member choir, performing Lux Aurumque, was all recorded over the internet. And the fact that they had never even met and rehearsed in person? That blew my mind! I thought this was a really cool way to use the internet. It's obvious that it took a lot of thought, time, and effort.

Teaching in the 21st Century

In the video, Teaching in the 21st Century by Kevin Roberts, John Strange version, Roberts' ideas are expressed throughout the whole video. He believes that, in a 21st century classroom, teachers should be teaching skills to go along with the facts that they are given to teach. In this day and age, students can find information anywhere and Roberts believes that it is the classroom teacher's job to be the "filter". Roberts believes that teachers need to teach students how to handle information that they find outside of class. These concepts include validating information, communicating with others through the internet, and analyzing information that they find. He believes that teachers should teach skills instead of only facts so that students will know how to make life decisions and will be able to use their knowledge outside of the classroom. Another point that Roberts makes concerns technology in schools. He believes that teachers should teach technology because it makes up most of the world today. Roberts says, in essence, that teachers should teach students to be knowledgable not only of facts, but also of skills, and that it is the responsibility of the 21st century teacher to do this.

I believe that Roberts' ideas are correct. I think it is so important, especially now, for a teacher to be relevant. We must not only drill children with facts but be able to equip students with outside knowledge that they need for life skills. The point that I liked the most that Roberts made was when he posed the question, "How do you manage technology?" He said that you manage technology in the classroom the same way that you manage a pencil and paper. Any tool will provide temptation to students but with proper discipline, any tool, especially technology, can be effective. I agree with Roberts on the fact that classroom materials must be engaging for students. Even in my small Sunday School class, I've realized that children are simply not interested in learning if it doesn't involve some kind of technology. They are around it all the time and school should not be any different. Teachers must teach meaningfully in the 21st century and that means being relevant and engaging.

Flipped Classroom

I loved watching the videos by Katie Gimbar, Dr. Lodge McCammon, and Ms. Munafo, regarding the Flipped Classroom. I had never heard of the Flipped Classroom but I think it is a great idea especially for higher grade levels, and individualized subject classrooms. I think it would be most beneficial for older students because there may be a little too much responsibility involved for younger children. However, for middle and high school grades, maybe even 4th or 5th, I think the Flipped Classroom is how every classroom should be! It teaches students, not only facts and information, but also responsibility and communication. If I were a middle or high school teacher I would definitely use the Flipped Classroom. It would involve lots of work, but I think the outcomes would be rewarding.

the flipped classroom

My Sentence Video

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Project #3 C4T

C4T Assignment

C4T #1 comment 1

For my first C4T assignment, I was assigned to Ms. Edna Sackson's blog entitled What Ed Said. Ms. Sackson is the teaching and learning coordinator for a school in Melbourne, Australia. The first two post on Ms. Sackson's blog were guest posts, so I started with the most recent post written by the author herself. This post was titled, "Time to learn..." and focused on a recent "Staff Conference Day". This was a type of professional development lead by teachers for the teachers and was divided into different groups that the teachers could either decide to participate in or to facilitate. Ms. Sackson provided quotes, some of which were from facilitators and some that were from participating teachers, all of which coincided with their group. By reading the teachers' comments, it was clear that everyone enjoyed a professional development day that was interactive and one where they could decide which group would be most beneficial to them.

I left my first comment under this post made my Ms. Sackson. I introduced myself and informed her that I was in a class at USA and that I was assigned, for a short time, to view her blog and comment on a couple of her posts. In my comment I also said that I enjoyed reading the quote from a woman named Linda who facilitated in the group that was learning more about blogging and its benefits in a classroom setting. I informed Ms. Sackson of the sole purpose of EDM 310 and that we were also exploring the world of blogging and how it can be incorporated in the classroom.

C4T #1 comment 2

For my second comment on What Ed Said, I was able to read a post titled, "Twitter in the classroom..." and it focused on a class, the first class in the school, who had started using Twitter. The teacher had ultimate control of the classroom Twitter account, which I liked, but the students could tweet about their learning experiences or they could collect data from their followers. Ms. Sackson began by showing the class how Twitter works and created a sample tweet. She said that shortly after, the children were learning and eager to tweet. She said that, when you use Twitter in your classroom, not only do children learn technology, but they learn other skills such as expressing themselves to an actual audience and reflection of their learnings.

In my comment, I expressed to Ms. Sackson that, at first, I was slightly skeptical of what Twitter could offer for children. I was worried that their little wondering eyes would drift off into something not pertaining to classwork, or that they would just see Twitter as something fun and not a learning experience. However, like I told Ms. Sackson in my comment, I loved that the classroom teacher had ultimate control of the account and that students could post throughout the day about what they learned with teacher supervision.

twitter kid

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Blog Post #4

Podcasting with First Grade

I found Ms. Tolisano's blog, Langwitches, to be very informative, especially concerning podcasts and using podcasts with your students. The first post of Ms. Tolisano's that I read was titled "Podcasting with First Grade." First grade?! Are your kidding me?! I'm twenty years old and, quite frankly, I find creating a podcast to be terrifying! But sure enough, these first graders created a podcast like champs. They were so excited to be involved in the creating process and you could really hear it in their little voices. For this particular podcast, the students created an "interview" with the main characters in the story Vacation Under the Volcano by Mary Pope Osbourne. Students pretended they were interviewing Jack and Annie about their adventure to Pompeii. The questions and answers were created by the students and when the "script" was finished, each child played a role, rotating the parts of the interviewer, Jack and Annie. Ms. Tolisano said that the children loved to hear their own voices and editing with sound effects. She helped them with their acting voices and fluency to make a more fluid interview. Ms. Tolisano was sure to point out that the students were not focusing on the skills required to make a podcast, but instead they were learning listening, comprehension, and storytelling skills. They were also working on performance and presenting. I loved how excited the children were! Ms. Tolisano did an excellent job making sure the children were engaged and enthused about learning.

children using podcasts

Flat Stanley

I also read Ms. Tolisano's post, Flat Stanley Podcast. I've heard the story of Flat Stanley before but the approach that Ms. Tolisano took was above and beyond. Last year, my nephew came home with a little paper man named Stanley that he was supposed to take with him throughout the day, recording his journeys and when he was finished, he was to send Stanley to a relative. Stanley made his way, through the mail, to my house and I even got to take little ole Stanley to a Mississippi Surge hockey game. I thought that was the cutest idea, until I read Ms. Tolisano's approach to Flat Stanley.

In the book, by Jeff Brown, Stanley is a normal little guy who, one day, gets squished by a bulletin board. One would normally look at this as a problem but, now that he's flat, Stanley can go anywhere through the mail! Instead of sending Stanley through the mail, Ms. Tolisano's students pretended that they were the ones that were flattened and that instead of a bulletin board falling on them, their Smartboard was responsible for the flattening. The assignment was to figure out a location that they were going to "go", research that place, think of sights, smells, and feelings that they would experience, and their transportation to and from their destination. After the assignments were completed, Ms. Tolisano created a podcast with the students briefly explaining their journey. It was absolutely adorable! Like the first graders in the above mentioned blog post, these students were so excited to tell about their pretend getaway and to hear and manipulate their own voices. This project, also, wasn't just about learning to podcast, but instead critically thinking about the story that they had read and applying that to life events. Podcasting, in this sense, is about engaging kids in learning and it is a great tool to do so.

Flat Stanley

Producing a Podcast

Another post in Langwitches that I read was titled, Producing a Podcast. Like I said before, I am terrified to create a podcast, but if first graders can do it, then I know I can, too! Even though this particular post is about what Ms. Tolisano does when producing podcasts with her students, I also benefited from her approach by applying it to my own learning to podcast. She says that the very first thing that she does is identify the purpose or theme of the podcast (interview, summary style, etc.). Then she prepares her students. In this second step, instead of preparing students, I would be preparing myself by practicing speaking, volume, and fluidity. Thirdly, Ms. Tolisano makes her children familiar with the sound editing software. In my case, I would have to familiarize myself. Next, she records the audio, which I would do, and created segments if working in groups. She then adds transitions and an outro. I think I will use this post as a guideline when making my own podcast. Even though Ms. Tolisano uses these steps with her students, I think it would also be beneficial when creating your own podcast.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Blog Post #3

Peer Editing

For my C4C #2 I commented publicly instead of privately because I didn't feel that anything that I said would be embarrassing to the student or would hurt their feelings. I was fortunate enough to read a well-written blog post where my classmate followed the rules in the blog post's instructions and as well as the instructions in Writing A Quality Blog Post. There were very minimal amounts of spelling or grammar mistakes and I could tell that my classmate had taken her time in writing the post. Her writing was clear, very informative had someone never seen the videos, and it was well written. In the future, if I ever had to read a blog post that wasn't as well written and had more mistakes I would probably decide to let my classmate know privately. Fortunately, for this post I did not have to do so.

After watching the video, What Is Peer Editing, viewing the slideshow, Peer Edit With Perfection, and watching the video, Writing Peer Reviews Top 10 Mistakes, I feel very informed on how to write a meaningful, quality review for a peer. The first video and the slideshow went hand in hand. I liked this because I am more of a visual learner. It is hard for me to just remember what I hear, so I liked that the slideshow basically restated what was in the video. To write a quality peer review, you must follow 3 basic steps: compliments, suggestions, and corrections. Also, you should stay positive and be specific in your comments and reviews. Let the writer know exactly what you think, but make sure that your criticism is constructive, not hurtful.

I love, love, loved the Top 10 Mistakes video! Those kids were great! I've always been afraid that my peers were going to think that I was a "Picky Patty" and I definitely did not want to seem like a "Mean Margaret". I think that it is hard to not seem like at least one of those characters in the video, but we should always keep in mind how we would feel if someone were to say something hurtful to us. Also, the video taught us to be mindful when we are on the receiving end of a peer review. Don't blow off the comment like "Whatever William". Gladly receive comments even if they aren't what you want to hear. Most of the time, your peers are trying to help you and if you take their comments with an open mind then, chances are, they will benefit your writing.

Technology in Special Education

A.) Students in Special Education classrooms or even children with special needs that are integrated into a regular classroom often have trouble that other children would not typically have. Sometimes they have trouble visually and sometimes they have trouble speaking. Usually these children are incredibly bright, they just have a difficult time either communicating or paying attention. After watching Technology in Special Education, I learned that there were many ways to help children in need with the use of technology.

Ms. Cook does an excellent job incorporating the use of laptops and other technology in her Special Ed classroom. A couple of the students shown had trouble talking and they used the computer to type out what they wanted to say. Another child couldn't see very well so he used a computer program to magnify the print of the text that he was reading. Also, one child, who had difficulty in reading and concentration used his iPod touch to listen along to a book. Technology in Special Education has come a long way. I think the use of technology is a great way to get Special Education students involved in learning and excited about learning. The students in Ms. Cook's class were very excited about their technology, and Im sure other students would be as well.

For the future, if I had a special education child in my class, I think a laptop or an iPod touch would be a great thing to keep in my classroom. I'd also make use of powerpoint presentations to show to the whole class, so that the class would benefit and my special education student would also be able to learn. I'm sure that there are resources out there that I haven't even heard of. I'd love to learn and maybe incorporate those technologies into my classroom for special needs children. Each child is different and they learn in different ways; I'm sure with all of the fun new technology there would be something that could benefit every child.

B.) The app that I chose after watching How the iPad Works with Academics for Autism is called Reading Raven HD and it is available on the iPad, iPhone or iPod. I was drawn to Reading Raven because of its fun graphics and the great customer reviews. Reading Raven is an app consisting of lessons and games that help children read words then builds up to reading full sentences. Its lessons are self-paced and can be customized to fit the age group that you are working with.

I would use this for class games and if there were special needs children in my class it would also be beneficial to them. The colors are bright and the illustrations are exciting. This app works on many different subjects from reading and writing to phonics, spelling and vocabulary. It seems like it would be a good tool to use for several different subjects, not only one, and I think it would grab the attention of special needs children while also being effective for the other children in the class.

Reading Raven logo

Vicki Davis: Harness Your Digital Smarts

Vicki Davis is an IT teacher at a Georgia public school who founded two different social media/blogging sites where her students can post and interact with students from around the world. One site, called DigiTeen, encourages digital citizenship among students while they post to their blog concerning a certain topic. The other, Flat Classroom Project, incorporates students from all over the world, reporting together and communicating through the site. In the video, Ms. Davis says the she encourages students to be thinkers and to teach others. She also says that it is ok if a teacher doesn't know everything.

I love Ms. Davis' teaching style. I feel like I'm that teacher that doesn't know everything under the sun but I am willing and excited to learn. In our day and age students, especially older children, are more informed than their teachers are and teachers shouldn't be afraid of that. I think Ms. Davis' sites are beneficial to students because, without those sites, these children would probably never talk to a student in the middle east or across the seas. I'd love to learn more about her websites and possibly even use them in the future.

teacher quote