Friday, May 3, 2013

Project #13

For project #15, my group (The Dream Team) used a few collaborative tools such as:

Ipad's iMovie: We used Kelli's iPad to record our movie and easily transported to our e-mail accounts, Macs, and etc. using a zip folder

iMovie Application: This was used to edit our project heavily with sound transitions and other great applications that made our project stand out.

iTunes: We used this to add sound to our project, which included a wide range of music genres (hip hop to country).

Goggle+: This application was used to share our ideas and relay our project's progress from one another throughout the editing process.

Conclusion: Much of our project was mad possible through the above discussed tools. For more information about project #13, click this link and start your own!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Final Update: PLN

My PLN has been doing great. I feel like this semester has put me in contact with a good amount of technology that I would use for my classroom. I still feel like there should be an upgrade for mathematics' technology, but I feel like I'm apart of that change and hope to continue to be for years to come. I've really enjoyed the contacts the most. They're helping me narrow in on my teaching style with my PLN, and I'm happy we're connected.

Blog Post #14

This post was about the article Teacher Knows if You Have Done the E-Reading. It talks about what technology is advancing towards in the textbook analyzing field. With e-reading, students are able to carry several textbooks in a laptop or iPad, and when students are studying e-reading will record what students have done in terms of reading, highlighting, and digital note taking. E-reading reports what each student is doing and keeps a record for the professor. The professor can then analyze each students performance against their test scores and ask them to look into changing their study habits. Some admit to doing poorly in studying, but others are doing well despite not logging in hours. In addition, some worry that this intrusive technology is giving a negative image to the students (once again, despite their excellent scores). 

As a teacher, I would have mixed feelings about this new technology. I'm not against growth and learning, but as the article describes, how do I scold a student that's doing well and understanding material in class without opening his e-book? As a teacher, I would understand that this could be something to change some student's minds about how they learn and impact their long-term educational performance, but in five years or so, I would only catch one handful of students in this problem. Lastly, I fear for students who don't know how to use it. This is forced change and compliance, which seems a little sadistic. In the end, I would probably reject this intrusive technology, but I wouldn't mind giving it a earnest try.

As a student, I would feel very offended "Big Brother" was watching me day and night. It seems that there would be follow-up to this technology that could seep into more places, and this is just the start. I've had e-book. I had them in Nursing School, and they were horrible. If you couldn't attend the one seminar they had about using e-books, you were forced to struggle the rest of your two years with the program. I understand it's benefits, as they are very clear, but the invasion of my study habits used mostly against me, gives me grief. 

My questions to the teacher running this program are:
  • Statistically, of all your troubled students, how many were you able to turn around?
  • Did this turn around include more use of their e-reader?
  • Do you think your lectures provide too much information?
    • If this is the case, what would you fill your class time with?
    • Does this make your job more of a monitor rather than an educator?
  • Statistically, of all your academically sound students, how many did you show their e-reader's analysis?
    • Did this impact their study habits and raise their scores any more significantly?
My questions to the students in this program are:
  • Do you feel a significant change? Enough to where you're happy that the program should continue?
  • Has this helped or hurt your relationship with the professor?
    • In what way?
Lastly, I would comment about invasion. The government feels like they can push us around and control us to the tee, but we often forget: we are the majority. Not to put the paranoia into readers everywhere, but they already monitor your Facebook, Twitter, and Blogs. They control much of what you don't see, and this is another in to your private life. Your habits are exposed and they'll soon be aware of what you eat for breakfast (oh wait, too late). This is another realm of invasion that we should consider not implementing. I feel like if we do, we'll lose the creativity that made our nation so great, and instead, enforce conformity. It's not my wish to do so, and I'm hoping it's not the wish of my future educators and colleagues.

C4T #4

Sara: 5th Grade Math Teacher

Post #1:
Sara posted a very lengthy summary of her growth as a teacher. She talked about how she struggled with herself as a teacher when she developed a year-long project that wasn't necessarily going as she planned. The phases of grief seemed to appear, because in a way, she gave birth to this idea and it was dying right in front of her. That's when she consulted "the doctors" who gave her ideas and advice. In this instance, it was her class and several seminar speakers that lead her to grow as an educator. She knew she had tweaked her plan left and right to re-introduce her project to the class. She said that by the end of all the tweaking, she found herself more open and flexible than ever, and she loved herself for that. The project set sail and fared the seas so well, she decided to keep it in the end!

I loved this post because it talks about perseverance and going with your gut even if your not sure where your gut is taking you to. Change is a hard thing to over come and even harder when you're having to do so over a lengthy period of time. As a wise professor once told me "When I'm doing research, sometime I'll go a couple of years without any progress. Do I give up? No. It's about the journey to get to the answer that's important." I know that many of us (fresh out the gates) will flop and fumble, because we're experiencing change, but I think it's important to remember: it will get better.

Post #2:
A newer post was unavailable for my viewing, so I picked the next most recent post which went over the above's project's progress. When she attended the seminar (also the same as above), she was given the below paperwork which helped her to align what she really wanted for her year-long project:
As one can see, she has this sheet that she hands out at the beginning of every class. These tiers represent the different areas of the classroom in which she has groups rotate to. This isn't necessarily always the same activities, but there is a consistency to location and what she wants them to fill out on the sheet. She's included all of the activities she rotates in and out, including: Bistrips, computerized learning, one-on-four learning etc. By the end of it, she had redone the above worksheet and organized her selection of activities.

I enjoyed reading all the technology that was incorporated. I also think this educator is one of the better kinds. I find that most teachers are very "stuck in the mud" and are unwilling to see faults in their growths. I don't think they hate change, but rather don't know where to go because they lack ideas. Sara has ideas oozing out her ears and she's unafraid to use them. Go, Sara!

C4K: Post #3

Kelsi D of Mr. Boylen's Class

It helps you to be more social. If you are a troll who stays in your room all the time then you need to socialize on kidblog.

It helps you to be more social. Some people will probably benefit from meeting new people because they will actually put in some effort. Meeting new people will help you experience new cultures and different schools.

However if you are someone who doesn’t like to meet new people or you don’t take things seriously then kidblog probably isn’t a good thing for you. I think you have to actually try and mean the things you say for it to be affected. Meeting new people is great, but you have to want to.

I think it is worth the time, because if you get a conversation going you might be able to gain a new friend. This could help you with real life socializing skills. Kidblog is good, only if you make it good.

Hello, Kelsi! I, too, have to agree with your assessment. This concept applies to many aspects of your life, right? Doing a sport, finishing homework, applying yourself in school. It's all as easy or as hard as you make it with the attitude you present. Stay positive, and stay cool, Kelsi.

Alice Wise, University of South Alabama

Erick of Mr. Chamberlain's Class

Mr. Chamberlain didn’t go to a education convention, instead he was athome for the week. he never came back to school until on the last day of school he came he said he got fired and that he was saying good bye me and the other student never saw Mr. Chamberlain ever again

Hey, Erick! I’m a student from the University of South Alabama. I’m wondering, is Mr. Chamberlain your teacher? It’s would be very strange of him to not show up until the last day, but I hope this is not the case. Also, remember to use punctuation and capitalization. I can tell you are a really good writer, so use your talents to get better! Great post.

Libby's Latest News of Mr. Leopold's Class

Hi, today I am going to be talking about the Buddy system.
The buddies system is a program that Grades 5/6 prep and 1 or 2 students participate. Grades 5/6 student have to care for their buddies as thought that the were their siblings.
I am sharing a buddy with Emma in my grade and our buddies name is Elyssa.
Every Tuesday the Grade five spend quality time with their buddies. Emma and I love our buddy, Elyssa.
Our buddies grade is 1KR Mrs Rudland’s grade.
Sorry such a short post

Do you have a buddy?
Do you have a sibling?
If you do have a buddy whats their names and grade

Hey, Libby! I’m a student from the University of South Alabama! I loved your post and am happy you like your buddy Elyssa! I know an Elyssa and she’s a very nice friend too. I do not have a buddy, but I do have siblings. I’m the youngest of all my siblings, but because we’re grown up, we don’t see each other every day like you and your buddy (or sibling). Anyways, have a great rest of the year, and keep up the great work!


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Final Project Progress Report

I think our project has a good bit of potential. We've chosen to make a movie together involving the "ins and outs" of EDM 310. I'm not currently working on the script, because we've designated that job to my other group members, but I'll be doing all the editing for our movie. We'll film it next week and hopefully I'll get my hands on the raw material and give it a good scrubbing, final review, and publish it!

Blog Post #13

Ted Talks: Brian Crosby

I moderately enjoyed this video of Mr. Crosby talking about the projects and expansion of learning he and his class have done. It was fairly creative to use blogging and other technology to promote the children's self-awareness, expand vocabulary, and set themselves apart as active learners. I think the most interesting part was that I felt compelled to be an active learner with these inventive science projects! If that is the case with a twenty-something year old who's in college, what's to say it wouldn't interest any ages below my own? In other words,  it's universally meant to promote an active learner. Nice job, Mr. Crosby!

Paul Anderson did a post along the same line as Brian Crosby in the sense that they both are re-thinking the flipped classroom, which means they technologically advance their classrooms. He expands on material of his chosen profession (science) and talks about how the flip has applied to his classroom.

In my opinion, this isn't anything new or exciting. This (with the exception of video and computerized testing) has been around for a long time. I'm not just ho-humming on Mr. Anderson, because I know he's on TedTalks and I've seen his videos, but there wasn't enough of a significant change, in my opinion. He's got them on computers looking into questions, reading, and taking quizzes, but I think it turned out to be a little less engaging (by that I mean getting them up and experiencing science the way he experiences learning when he's going on trips etc. didn't happen) 

"Qu.I.V.E.R.S" has been around in some shape or form for a little while, but hey, one small change in his program might be the biggest change in someone's learning experience.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Blog Post #12

Dan Meyer: Math With New Perspective

Watch the video below and write a paragraph of your reactions. Include your perspective on how little or how greatly this inventive way might help future math students and consider the different thought processes that come out when working within his criteria.

Next, click visit his blog (here) and find three interesting posts to write about using the guidelines below:

  1. Technology Shaping Math Educators
  2. Classroom Management
  3. Math Assignments 
Write substantial paragraphs for all topics and end with a reflection completing the sentence:
"If I could suggest something to my math teacher, I would suggest..."

Lastly, here's a video just for your entertainment.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Blog Post #11

I was asked to watch a couple of videos (one being the ways a teacher uses technology in her classroom and one being a recorded webcast between EDM 310 and a technology literate teacher).

I found both of these videos interesting, but neither really deal with math specific ideas. The Nintendo DS is a great way for children to play brain teasers, but what about the students who aren't in elementary school? Do they lose out on this technology? Assuming they do, are we upgrading them to on the board brain teasers(which is already a common practice among secondary math educators)? Assuming they don't, are we down grading them to an elementary level's learning curve and dousing their ambitions to cross over into adulthood and adulthood learning methods? Certainly. I'm constantly weary that my kids (of secondary education) will often have the glazed looks of depression when they sit in my classroom, but what can I do? Not only do they have to grow up in my class, but they have to leave behind the better parts of what technology in education can provide (as shown and heard in both videos) for higher learning.

I understand that this is a common problem for many secondary math teachers. Our curriculum is rigid, the concepts are dry, and even hearing it puts some of us to sleep! In a previous post, I talk about the technology I could use in my classroom, but it consisted of the clicker. In my book, this isn't necessarily exciting for students, but it's useful for feedback on how well concepts are sinking in. I'm hoping more technology comes out for secondary education's technology, besides what has been listed, and in the meantime, I'll have an eye out. Great videos, though!

C4K Post #2

Kole from Mrs. Goerend's 5th Grade Class

"My life would be different if there was no First Amendment because I probably wouldn’t be able to go to my church. We probably would only have half of the money we have now because the job payments would be much lower.we would get privileges if something big hashappened.Kids would probably have to help work. People would be more strict about their policy’s. People would get in trouble for making comments that are rude, judgmental, or threatening to or about their leader, etc. Boy I’m glad I didn’t live back then!!! "

Hey Kole! Like Michelle, I’m a student of the University of South Alabama. You made some really good points about life without the first amendment. In retrospect, there are many countries today who don’t have the right to speech or religion. I’m happy that we didn’t live back then too. Since we don’t, we should think of something we could do with this freedom and utilize its potential to the fullest so we can make a difference in the world. I hope you think about it, as I will be.

The Plan for The New World
By: Jared Avery

This is part of my story.
The date is June 26th, 2010. When this all started things were different. A young man named Juan is at a cafe in Chihuahua, Mexico. He is dirt poor and has 1 pair of clothes. He has short brown hair, ginger skin, and a big mouth. He usually steals money from the cash register, when no one looks, or pickpockets and then buys something to eat. It is how he survives. He doesn’t only make his living here but many other places as well. As he sits down he notices two strange men in the corner next to the bathrooms. One is tall and had long brown hair. He is wearing a leather jacket and nice shoes. Standing next to him is a very big muscular man with tattoos tattered across his arms. He had a buzz cut and is very tall.
They are probably a good target thought Juan.
So he crept over there quite and swift, then hid behind a wall. He is well known for eavesdropping and pickpocketing. Sometimes he is hired to do so. He couldn’t help but notice that they are talking about something, something… important. Now it is time to work his magic. as Juan listened close with his acute ears he could hear…
“Are you sure you want to do this Antonio? I mean it’s illegal and all. What if we get caught or worse?” Muttered the second man.
The other’s name must be Antonio thought juan.
“Yes, and we won’t get caught. How many times must I tell you. anyways we will have a group to help us. We are crossing the border whether you like it or not.” says Antonio.
“Okay.” Mumbles The other man.
Then they turn toward the corner in which Juan is hiding and he scurried away.

Hey Jared! I’m a student at the University of South Alabama! I LOVED your story. Keep it up, because I think you have a really great talent for writing. Small critic: remember to capitalize and use punctuation! Overall, it was a very dark piece but well written and a great lead into something better! I’m hooked. Keep up the GREAT work, Jared!

Pt England School: Logan
Why Do We Have Easter

The priest were jealous when Jesus had arrived in Jerusalem on a donkey that his friends have gotten for him . They were jealous of him because they didn't like the ordinary people liking him so much. They were so jealous of they wanted him killed and arrested.
Why do we have easter eggs for easter?? What do they represent ?? What part do easters egg play in easter. We have Easter eggs to help symbolize life being reborn, I got that from a site that i had came across.

Hey, Logan! I'm From USA's University of South Alabama, and I like the way you're questioning things with this blog. I would have loved a link to the site you got your information from, but otherwise, great post! Keep up the GREAT work!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Project #14: SMART Board

C4T: #3

Dan Meyer

Dan Meyer posted a "Great Classroom Action!" idea's post that he's received from other fellow math teachers. All-in-all, I like the variety of ideas, but I wondered about the time frame for a few. One was a worksheet, so I know that would've taken a day or two at most, but there was one project about how to find out the surface area of a human. Students were critically thinking for what seemed a couple of days and they talked about different ways to calculate it (with the students' ideas; only mediation from the teacher). One group came up with a theory to measure around the body with a string, one used unit blocks, and one group even tried to calculate the individual fingers! All in all, there were good ideas and there were bad ones, but the point was to use critical thinking to find a solution. The results were off, but they ended this project with a classroom discussion as to where they went wrong and where they went right.

Another project that sounded lengthy was an investigator project. The students pretend to be investigators and solve cases using math. On first glance at the project, it really seemed lengthy, but when I followed a few links, I found that this project was something very malleable, because it's not one long investigation, but it's investigations of small things in short bursts. For example, the first inquiry made by the "SWAT team" was finding the area of a house (which had an areal shot of Micheal Jordan's house), because they needed to know how many people to send in. Another one was finding the height of a thief seen around a statue that was recently stolen (and actually is in real life). Critical thinking ensued and they found different ways to calculate everything. Most of it wasn't right, but because the teacher facilitated this as a group discussion, it headed in the direction of "right". Great post, and I look forward to reading more of his posts.

Post #2

We know that triangles equal 180 degrees because no matter what two angles you choose, the last angle will be the difference of 180 - (angle A + angle B), but what about other shapes like hexagons and squares? They also add up to a certain degree (540 and 320 respectively), but we can also create different shapes of cross-secting lines with a singular degree, like this one shown below:
As one can see, the shapes are odd, but as Dylan discusses, this is a great way to incorporate geometry for students who like a puzzle. They'll find new shapes and have a great time trying to figure out this classic problem. For more information, visit Dylan's blog, or check out links below:

Project: Green Screen (Harlem Shake Edition)

Monday, March 25, 2013

Blog Post #10

Papermate vs. Ticonderoga
John T. Spencer drew this illustration as a mocking comparison of "I'm a PC, I'm a Mac" advertisements (if you follow the link, and look in the comments section, he blatantly says this). Fortunately, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and many interpretations can come from it. My interpretation is about comparison. In other words, we may have different tools, but the product is the same. The only difference is our personalities behind our decisions; whether we be cost efficient coupon queens or the self absorbed obsessive, we can still share generalities of jobs, financial situations, or hobbies. For EDM 310, my comparison would specifically be about teaching styles. Early style teachings can be out dated and not as effective, but modern teaching is sometimes about what the latest and greatest teaching style is, but also just as ineffective. Moderation and research is key, in my opinion.

In another post, Spencer posts a conversation between a teacher (presumably himself) and a principal.  The contents of the conversation was about a principal scolding the teacher for having a class play a game instead of teaching from worksheet packets and memorization tests. That alone screamed old world thoughts and simplistic teaching. I hope as a professor, I constantly strive to show that learning can be fun and interesting. It doesn't have to be boring. People will argue and tell me that children have to be serious and understand the main point and/or smaller details of any subject, but I'll always fight back saying "Why does that have to be boring?" It's not enough that we trudge in, plop work on their desks, and grunt at them like cavemen telling them to work. 'Engaging' seems to be a key word in teaching, and I think that was the idea behind his post.

"Don't teach your kids this stuff, please?"

This poem sarcastically battled the nay-sayers of new technology in the realm of teaching. It didn't seem to necessarily constrict to teachers, but could have been interpreted to include people with children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and godchildren. The point: if everyone was to open up to the idea of online and technologically enhanced or based learning, good can come from it. It addresses that (sure) there are bad things that the internet includes, but the internet isn't made of only porn and distractions. It's mostly a great source for new information in a variety of flavors. For instance, if I don't understand a topic in calculus, I can look up videos, read several posts on the best way to look at a problem, and develop an individualized way of attacking that certain topic if I ever see it again. Without technology, I rely on books, my teachers, and peers to help me through tough subjects. Unfortunately, if I don't understand the first or second time a teacher presents the subject(questions included), my peers can barely explain the topic themselves, and I don't understand what the book is saying(or it doesn't cover a specific example that is giving me trouble), I'm out of luck and I miss out on test points, and future subjects may become more than difficult for me.

Understandably, the author ends on a "let's see who's horse is bigger in the future" note. Summary: just because bad things can happen with new technology, don't let it deter you from the out weighing potential it possesses.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Blog Post #9

Mr. Joe McClung

The idea of end of the year reflections is a great one, especially for teachers. It reminds us of where our wins and losses were. Did we really do our best throughout the whole year or semester? Did we reach any goals and grow as an individual as well as a teacher? It's important to keep up with this self evaluation, as Mr. McClung pointed out. From the list of four blogs to read from Mr. McClung, I read the last two(found here and here). 

The first blog post I read covered was a lot of insight that confirmed how I felt about my teaching career. I want to be the teacher that is a role model and a friend to my students. I want them to feel comfortable in my classroom and always be willing to ask the dumb questions. He phrased it as "putting the students first" and in my own way, I will too. 

Another topic he covered happens to already be a vice of mine. I "touch the keyboard" when I'm tutoring. I like sitting at the front and confirming what student are doing right, even if their voice ends up at inflection when answering my questions. I do my best to facilitate their learning and critical thinking skills, but what use is it if I'm the one always asking the right questions and answering half of them? I'm impatient, but it's just another thing to improve, right? 

The last subject from this blog post that I liked was about not expecting others to be as excited about change as you are. To me, this is self evident. People become stagnate when they find a good groove and when an inventive or new approach plops on their desk they mentally turn off their brain right after saying to themselves "I've got this covered, thanks." Sure. The past was great, but great things also exist in the future. It might be better or worse, but it's our job to investigate and adequately give things a chance, especially if research and peer educators are giving it a thumbs up. I'm not saying it's necessary to rely on peer educators for this, but it's necessary to evaluate something's use through resources, guides, and intuition.

A woman looking stressed

The second blog I read only reviewed two topics, the first being about always challenging yourself. When going to grade school, I remembered the better days of comparing and contrasting 'Hamlet' movies, Quiz Bowl Fridays, and a competition for building a tennis ball catapult. In other words, it's the extra time that teachers put into making a project follow a lesson plan for a couple of weeks that make lessons memorable, even years later! I still brag about my tennis ball catapult, how many hours and reconstructions it took, and what my physics teacher's catapult looked like! In addition, that lesson had other impacts for me, like knowing how to construct and build something on my own, what factors held back its potential energy, and the list goes on. Challenging oneself is the same way. We need to be inventive and stunningly memorable so it effects the students in the way we want it to. If it doesn't, we should always look back at the black board to tweak or replace it with something better. The point is we don't give up.

The last topic that really perked my interest from this blog was his relating to peers and colleagues his own age. I suppose he's considered a pioneer at this school, but what good is it being a pioneer if you're the one doing it alone? Every Batman needs a Robin and just the same, teachers need someone on their side to help nurture and facilitate great ideas as well as trash bad ones. I'm not saying he's wrong for "out casting" himself, but just the same, peer evaluation can be just as important as a self evaluation.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Blog Post #8

This Is How We Dream Pts. 1 and 2

I love books. I love the way they smell, what they symbolize, and how I know I'm going to be a better person (in some way) after reading it. However, this fashion of book loving has gone away and has been replaced by something that use to be written off as a mystery but nowadays is a tangible and viable source for more information than one book could ever give me: the internet. Streaming, creating, and sharing are typical verbs used in describing the internet because it's applications are endless! Just creating a document on the internet through (oh, let's say...) a blog immortalizes it in a way that could never be done with pencil and paper. Even if my apartment burns down, my blog will still be up and running. It's more organized and easier to read in some cases! "This Is How We Dream" talks about this and many more ways technology has seeped into our lives and has created an irreversible effect on our lives simply through the way we share information. It's true, we're behind, but what better way to catch up than through a proactive approach? Concerning multimedia, I'm not proficient in it yet, but I will be by the time I ask my students to do the same.

Carly Paugh's B.P. #12

Carly's post about how we should create our own playlist is a simple, creative, and fun idea. She outlined what parameters we should stay in, but she's even provided a way for us to still be individuals by saying that we only need to choose five off the list, but need to have at least 10 videos on our playlists. The possibilities are endless and the idea is extremely malleable to make this an assignment for children but with different parameters. I think it's another great way for us to share ideas, especially if we were to group up and watch each others playlists and write a blog post about it. I have even reviewed her playlist and it's up to 57 videos ranging from serious topics about disabilities to not so serious topics about how teachers are people (a Goofey interpretation). Anyone wanting to see her playlist should click here! Also, anyone wanting to read more about her blog assignment should click here! Thanks, Carly!

Videos: "EDM310 for Dummies" and "The Chipper Series"

"The Chipper Series" was about a student and the different ways she thought school should be taught, starting from her experiences as a student and ending with her experiences as a school director. In each scene, it's obvious that this is the typical student's attitude towards school, but as the series progresses she (like many other students) find that it's not so easy to just live without following rules and working hard.

"EDM310 for Dummies" was about the class Edm 310 and how to get through it using a simple guide. I thought the idea was cute, but this is already outlined for us in our "Activities", "Blog Assignments", and "Projects" links. The only way someone can't get through this course is if their pride is just too large, they're unwilling to change, or if they're illiterate. Sorry if I seem crude, but it seems this may have been made for the cute factor, but Dr. Strange has already surpassed its purpose...

Thus far (from these given examples), I'm imagining my video must be about Edm 310. Therefore, my video would be about the ways to get through Edm 310 with understanding the philosophies about the course and utilizing them to their fullest. For example, I would talk about how you don't necessarily have to read into every comment made about your blog and portray it as a personal attack, but instead read it as pure constructive criticism or an opinion that could possibly shape the way you teach or learn. Though this is just an example, the theme would be "Reading in between the lines of EDM 310" where we acknowledge that this course isn't the easiest, but there are ways to mentally defeat it.

Video: "Learn to Change, Change to Learn"

This video is a compilation of distinguished educators who realize what movement we need to take the future of education in. At the beginning, a guy talks about how 55 sectors were ranked on the technology usage and education ranked in the very last spot. Last? Last. We knew education wasn't exactly technology literate, but we're so behind that we're less technology literate than coal miners?  Ouch. The rest of the video talks about how we need to change our thought process and advance our horizons in technology so when we bring it to our students, we'll still be the ones they turn to for questions and obtain mental stimulation from our advanced lesson plans. I liked the video because of the resounding census of how far we need to take education. It was a good watch and I enjoyed it immensely.

[On a side note: the background music reminded me of a great video about success. Anyone else seen it? It's a great motivator which has gotten me through some tough times. Here's a link and enjoy.]

Scavenger Hunt 2.0

1) Classroom 2.0 ( This site is a great tool for educators and is just like Blogger, but better. On, one can customize and share their ideas while sharing other's ideas as well, but Classroom 2.0 is more like a forum where blogs, videos, books, and teacher reviewed sites come together specifically as a resource for teachers. It's already saved in my favorites!

2) Make Beliefs Comix! ( I lean more towards the artistic side in me rather than the mathematical side, so when something comes along in which I can merge the two, I get really excited! Here's a comic strip creator for the creative person in you! Fun and full of possibilities!

Comic Strip about a girl misunderstanding who the famous presidents (George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abe Lincoln) are.

3) SmileBox ( This innovative tool lets your creativity fly when creating things from online greeting cards to online slide shows. It seems to be a universally productive site that you can use over and over in the classroom and over and over in your life. This application can be used for phones and be posted to forums like Facebook, Twitter, and Blogger. Great tool!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Blog Post #7

Randy Pausch's Last Lecture

Here are some quotes throughout the lecture that I loved and wanted to share.

"When you're screwing up and no one bothers to tell you, that's when you know they've given up [on you]."

Honesty is something hard to come by. As a student, I always wondered how professors could so graciously accept criticism (constructive or not). At first, I thought it was them wanting students to realize "everyone makes mistakes" or "nobody's perfect" or just a correction before the wrong idea sets in, which may be the case for many professors. At second thought, it may be because they're striving for perfection, or they're glad someone's paying enough attention to correct their mistake. On way or another, Mr. Pausch says this because he wants people to open their eyes to what true constructive criticism is and what it means.

"Brick walls are there to keep the people who don't want it bad enough, out."

Determination to make your dreams come true is a must. There are many harsh environments for nature to live in, but it always finds a way to flourish. Just the same, our education is a race where we can limp off the track after falling, or picking ourselves up and push forward for what we want. It's all about attitude.

A professor recently talked to me about the possibility of getting my PhD in Mathematics instead of stopping at a Masters. I was taken aback because I never thought of that possibility, and when I asked him if he honestly believed I could do this, he said without hesitation, "Yes yes yes yes yes, of course, yes." My attitude had been shorting myself of a possibility. Now, I realize it's worthless to see myself as anything less than what I could be.

"Guys, that was pretty good but I know you can do better."

In this reflection, I realize many people finish activities and projects with a "WHEW! Done. There's nothing more to this" but people who come back and say "I know this is good, but something bothers me. I can make it better" are the people who will change the world. The unsatisfied. The tireless workers. The imaginative perfectionist. Striving for the better and unique is where change grows. This is where I want to be.

"That's the best a gift an educator can give their students: self reflection."

It's a great thing to want to be an educator, because we inspire so many kids and young adults to be better people, find careers, and develop life-long hobbies. One of the harder aspects of being a teacher is helping our students become better people. Even harder, showing them who they are and how others perceive them.

"I will fix this."

I loved this.Walt Disney is best quoted for saying "Keep moving forward." This is the same concept that I love to practice and hope to embody with my students.

Quote says: Don't strive to be the better person, strive to be a better you tomorrow

Project #9: PLN Progress Report

What is a PLN?

A PLN is Personal Learning Network. Its a tool that people (especially teachers) use that organizes their resources and learning tools to help them be more efficient at jobs, tasks, and enjoying hobbies. Tools that can help with a PLN include: Symbaloo ( or Edublog (

How have I started making my PLN?

My PLN (Personal Learning Network) is not as far along as I'd hoped. Much of it consists of Pinterest and pinning interesting websites to my boards and organizing it accordingly. This blog is a really great help with getting me started in building my PLN, but it seems that it isn't far enough along where I want it to be.

Where do I plan on taking my PLN?

There are many areas in which I hope to build up my PLN. I hope to better utilize the above tools and make a PLN specific to Mathematics. I already have several blogs I look at on a regular basis involving mathematics, but I hope to include more TedTalk videos. Twitter isn't my favorite tool, so I'll probably end up dropping it, but networking tools I love include Blogger, Pinterest, Facebook, and YouTube. I hope to expand on these tools for future educational usage.

Project #8: Mighty Ducks Podcast

This podcast is brought to you by the Mighty Ducks, which include (from left to right): Logan Kirkland, Alice Wise, and Jana Sharpe.

Project #7: C4K


Joseph did a short blog about lightsabers in WW1 and the strategy in weaponry changes that would be made on both sides. He included long, short, and medium ranged weapon comparisons, and even included types on weaponry that would work well against the lightsaber. There were some grammatical errors, like "is is" and "though" vs. "thought. Overall, he had a well thought out argument that was non-biased.

I wanted to leave a fairly thoughtful comment, so I wrote about lightsaber trivia that Star Wars nerds know. As far as I know, only a Jedi may use the lightsaber and I argued that if this is the case, Jedi were also telekinetic and could for see nearly current future events, making the use of any weapon obsolete. However, because we were discussing the lightsaber and not the user's ability, he was completely right in deducing that a flamethrower would be nothing against a lightsaber.

Laura W

"I am going to a birthday party it is a sleep over party it will be fun. and my friends and me are going to have so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so much fun.I wish it was my birthday.I am so happy.and so are my friends."

I left a short comment about her party and how I hoped it was as good as she hoped. I added material about how my parties use to go and gave her a few tips on making her up coming birthday party awesome! Overall, her post was short (as you can see), and I did the best I could by expanding.

Leone and Kelly of Room 6

In this C4K section, I was asked to leave a comment on two children's blossoming class blog and a comment on the general class's blog. I think this was a cute idea but I really didn't have that much to comment on. Leone and Kelly didn't have anything on their blog to comment on, so I left a general "Welcome to the Internet". It was nice, and they are adorable!

Savannah from Mrs. Miller's Class

Savannah defined the word "hegemony" and had to use it in a sentence. She defined the word wrong and used it in a sentence wrong. The definition of "hegemony" is:

noun, plural he·gem·o·nies.

1.leadership or predominant influence exercised by one nation over others, as in a confederation.

2.leadership; predominance.

3.(especially among smaller nations) aggression or expansionism by large nations in an effort to achieveworld domination.

She defined it as follows:
hegemony: when somebody abuses their authority over a person

She used it wrong in a sentence according her definition and the right definition, so by bare minimum I left a note about what the right definition is.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Blog Post #6

The Networked Student: Wendy Drexler

"Why does the networked student even need a teacher?" 

I understand all the information given to me about the networked student, but have many questions about it. How am I suppose to relate this to math (being a future math educator)? How will I engage my students in the learning process for technology? Where do I draw the line of teaching the material vs my students learning this on their own?

Being in math education, I see very few ways around the standard lecture and homework routine. I'm not suggesting this is the only way forever and always, but I'm suggesting that by knowing what the material is about and producing the same process and solutions time after time, we can eventually understand the pattern given to us and the material becomes easier to recognize and solve. With network learning, I've helped myself produce a learning style that fit for me, which is:
  1. Read some material about the upcoming topic before class. ANY material.
  2. Take legible notes so that you and others can read them.
  3. Do the homework based on notes, books, and the internet.
  4. Make marginal notes of exceptions that comes from homework problems.
  5. Questions are made (respectively):
    1. In class currently
    2. In the tutoring lab
    3. In class, the following period
    4. During professor's office hours.
Ample trial and error to see which study habits worked best for me, how I learned, and where to cherry pick my information was a grand help to me becoming a great student. This is something I would like to pass on with network learning. Network learning can become a great tool for all sorts of ideas, learning tools, and resources for students and I wouldn't want to deprive them of this. There are multitudes of math websites like Khan Academy, YouTube, and Alpha Wolfram that show math's process in different learning styles. Perhaps these sites will even facilitate better communication for what I couldn't!

 As for teaching the material vs my students learning on their own, I think this would be a great discussion I could have with my class about good, safe, and educationally correct resources I'd recommend. As long as the outside resources don't contradict my teachings (assuming I'm correct), I could even encourage outside studying of materials ahead of time or materials that are apart of "fun math" like the Fibonacci Sequence!

Project #10: Finding the Right Tool

There was a surprising amount of work involved in finding the right technological program to enhance my future students' program. This was a project I wanted to do well in because I look forward to technology being incorporated in the hardest place it could be incorporated in: the math classroom. Sure we've got fun brain games that students love, but they are mostly paper, board game, or basic item (blocks, legos etc) bound. Because I was more intrigued at the current possibilities, I went ahead and found several technologically advanced math programs. I scoured pinterest, Ted Talks, and even bugged a high school math teacher for some advice on where to find these programs and I came up with these three great resources:

1) Conrad Wolfram: Alpha Wolfram's creator

The video below will tell you more about this program and the program's creator does a wonderful job in explaining the differences of math, where we use them, and what kind of teaching we should focus on as future or current math teachers. He specifies that computers are the way to by pass the paper and pencil routine and get them learning about the other ways math REALLY helps out people, even long after they're out of high school algebra and college. Great watch!

2) Lisa Nussdorfer: the iPad with Math

Lisa has an article written about her usage of the iPad in congruence with her math curricular. She's using  ShowMe, Educreations, and Explain Everything as highlighted applications or 'apps' and equates them to Khan Academy, but more interactive. The article was posted and edited by Dan Meyer, another secondary mathematics major who sat down and did this interview with her. He made great connections to how and why we can justify buying the iPad and what it specifically does as a learning tool in the classroom. Here's a video link to the Explain Everything App (in case the above links don't work):

This application is a monumental tool that would do wonders for the education of math. There is a part in the video about being able to rewind and break down parts of your time line. This would be useful in helping to
create a lesson plan before hand, hook it up to a computer-projector screen, and teach using that. Videos, photos, and presentations are easily set up in no time. Great app, great review.

Last thought, Dan Meyers can also be found on the blogger web through this link:

Any future or current math teachers will find his interviews, opinions, and projects more than interesting.

3) Carolyn McLain: Clickers and Promethean Boards

This was my high school teacher and one of the few that made me believe in math and the powers of critically thinking. I added her to my facebook and she gladly helped me out with some technology advances she's been able to see; one being a clicker. A clicker is a simple device that most of South Alabama uses to poll students on questions that appear with a software during a slide show. The Nursing Program, Biology, and Chemistry classes of South Alabama have already implemented this technology and it works wonderfully. In addition, it's a cheap way to get students to interact with problems without having to get them to the board.

The second piece of technology she recommended to me was the Promethean Board. I've already watched a good section of videos and read articles covering this technology and it seems to be the same thing as a Smart Board but more efficient. One point the below video review reiterates is that because it's so efficient, they are able to cover more material at a faster rate and produce greater results because the children's different stylistic learning needs are met. Thanks, Mrs. McLain!

C4T Post #2

"What Ed Said" Blog

Post #1

In this post, I completely agreed with the way Edna was talking about the difference words make when we constructively talk to our students. We want them to learn and understand the material more than we want to justify their learning with standardized tests and grades. As the years pass, I imagine many teachers forget that this is a learning process and not a working process. When teachers talk to students about their homework, they tend to tell them to work on it or to do the work. "Work" is a negative connotation for them already, but "learn" seems to have a positive and uplifting side to it. With just a switch of vocabulary, the students' minds are turned on to possibilities and not focused (as much) on something they consider boring. This is especially important for math professors to incorporate, so I hope to change my vocabulary from now on.

Post #2

This post was a general post about how students relate their ideas and concepts to generalize them. She (Edna) related this to an avocado model which translated how we have many concepts that form around a concrete idea, and even when all the concepts have fallen away, ideas still can spring from the concrete idea (the pit of the avocado) to bring us new and inventive ideas. I didn't have much to say, because it was a shorter post, so I only said that I would practice preaching this in my future classrooms, but to be honest I wonder how I will. Math is something we use to a certain point, but other than that, John Bennett wonderfully points out this is harder than it seems. This is something that will probably plague my educational career as a math teacher, but I'll work on making math a relate-able course.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Blog Post #5

My Dream School

School seems to be a depressing sort of place with negative connotations for children, so I would want my school to be impossibly wonderful. If I could, I would have a gym that was made of trampoline material everywhere so kids could bounce off of things. Because I would want it to be versatile as well, I would want the gym to be able to transform into a modern, standard gym where they could experience all sorts of sports, including abnormal sports like orienteering, kayaking, and polo. Another feature my school would have is an exquisite cafeteria breakfast and lunch menu dedicated to both teachers and students. Every other week, we would explore authentic cultural cuisine from central Asia to Australia. Of course, some students would be against trying new things, but the diversity among the student population will help promote social acceptance of all cultures, and if all else fails, there would be a sandwich line. The last (non-classroom related) room I would modify would be the library. My library would be have a first and second floor, with the upper classrooms gaining access to the library on second floor and the lower classrooms gaining access to it on the first floor. There would be nooks and crannies in each window sill for kids to comfortably lay around and read. I would encourage any children who wanted to spend their recess inside the library to do so.  Another aspect to my school would be the superior learning environments.

Each department would be themed every other year (ie the math department would be Roman themed, science department would be Amazon themed etc.) Teachers would be responsible for decorating their classrooms and interpreting their ideas of the theme. Smart boards would be included in every classroom, but especially the math classrooms. Students would come in with all supplies ready to learn and keep a journal about what they'd learn from classroom to classroom. I would look into what the kids would be interested in learning about (botany, travelling, martial arts for example) and make clubs dedicated to these ideas. Lastly, parent involvement would be a must. If kids are strongly affected by the many people they encounter, I would want a strong network between parents, teachers, and kids. Some children are self sufficient, but the children who need just a little encouragement to succeed will be overwhelmed by the support waiting to catch them, should they fall.
Student Says 'I'm discouraged, Master. What do I do?' The Master Says 'Enourage Others.'

Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir

I loved this video. There is great importance in showing what people all over the world can do by coming together to produce such a harmonious and beautiful sound. If one listens carefully enough, one can hear the different breathing patterns where people are ending and starting words or lines a mili-second before they are suppose to. To me, this symbolizes the imperfection of a virtual choir. This aspect to the virtual choir gives it a uniqueness that most choirs do not experience but is good. In the words of a comment post below: "It sounds like the breathing of the universe." I think so as well.

In his interview, he went over how far people will go for connection to other human beings. The effort to be put into this kind of project takes months of review, sound checks, and video editing. One can see how much everyone believes in this project and the kind of community it has developed is special. I believe that with each new project, Eric must receive more and more entries. Even in his third project he has 73 countries   involved! I'll be on the look out for more of these videos (as I've already watched several interviews about the solo artist that appeared in the first project).

Kevin Roberts

I think Kevin has some really spot on points on where technology has taken us and where it will be in the future. We are a very virtually connected world where one can access the internet or phone signals via satellite, and there are very few places where one can't have access to everything. As it is, our children and great grand children will be looking forward to utilizing technology we have yet to experience, and we feel like we already have the world at our finger tips. How are we to teach future generations on old technology? How are we to engage them in the learning process? Are we obsolete? When those questions started popping up, I was having a mini-heart attack. He's right. As we are now, we are obsolete. We become professional caretakers and nothing more if we do not change. We have to move forward and beyond by keeping up with the technology to stay a step ahead of our students. The younger ones may not have as much curiosity to explore the web, but the older ones will know creases of the internet we never considered to be an issue.

I suppose it's time that teachers pick up their roots and start moving. Right, Dr. Strange?

Flipping the Classroom

This approach to teaching is a great idea to be progressive and proactive in the classroom. I noticed they covered that this is only for math classes for the time being (being a future math teacher, I'm ecstatic there is someone thinking about bettering math lessons) and I can see myself utilizing this tool for the classroom. It's tough in any classroom to reach all the children because they are not going at the same pace as one another, but this is especially true in math. In my opinion, math has become a stale subject, because it hasn't been taught that many different ways since the beginning of math education. In general, high school math class sessions are lecture and homework based (like Dr. Lodge said). The smart board may be a new and inventive way to teach it, but it only captures students attention because they can get away from the standard marker/chalk and board. And though the smart board may leave teachers with an easier way to put lesson plans together, the point of using one is to change the way information is given to the students. When we analyse how students interact with the smart board, we realize they don't, for the most part. It is still a lecture and homework based course. I'm interested in the videos because of the re-watching purpose.

When I began going to school for Secondary Mathematics Education, I came across a professor that has already utilized this strategy. He has a YouTube account and playlists for all of the subjects he's teaching. The great thing about his playlists is that he can add any additional videos about a certain topic he's discussing in class from other YouTuber's account. He hasn't completely given his teaching over to the internet, because he reiterates these lessons in class and goes over more examples, but he's getting closer to classroom flipping idea. Before tests (and especially midterms or finals), he gathers groups and has them work out problems on the board so the students can evaluate their work and peer discussions pop up. Students ask questions of tutors or the professor and/or solve it out themselves. It would be hard for him to get near the flipped classroom idea, but I can at least try it.

Because lesson plans will range from easy to challenging, I can see about making videos about the more medium to challenging topics. I know that sometimes it's hard to gauge what is hard for students in comparison to what is hard for teachers, so by data collection, I will have an idea of what lesson plans I need to make videos for and which ones I need to drop from my playlist. I don't want the videos to take over my teaching all together, but I believe this could become a great supplemental tool for my students.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Project #3: C4T(Comments for Teachers)


This first post I've read is about a project stemming from the 1920's where students group up and they are looking at interviewing a "character" that comes out of a trial. One student plays the "character"; another plays the "interviewer" and they do an interviewing process about the trial from the character's point of view using a video camera. Everyone must turn in a paper in MLA or APA format about the group's name and information pertaining to a good summary about their project. I professed that giving a student options is nice, but the students (collectively) will bring up differences about the MLA and APA differences, ultimately confusing the students. I suggested that defining which format would be best for the students would be a better idea, because the less of the choices, the better the format, the better the grading process, and the better the outcome of minimal issues it becomes.

Nothing has changed from the previous posts so I had to go to the last post, which was done last year in November. It didn't contain anything of particular use to me, because it was a follow up post to the series of posts about a history project, so my comments were limited, however I was able to leave a comment about how I would like to see the outcome of this project and how well the students responded to it. If it was something that future teachers could incorporate into their lesson plan and prune the rest of their future lesson plans to cater to this one, then maybe it was something worth looking into. There is a site where teachers can be paid by other teachers to share a lesson plan or project; perhaps this is where she's gone?

Blog Post #4


I found this to be a very useful tool in promoting the children's horizon of learning style. I wonder a little about whether or not this is something she does as a research project or as a teacher. It seems to be a very time consuming and drawn out project (which isn't a bad thing) and very engaging. I can see how useful this is in interesting students who are naturally introverted. I know that creating an outlet for these kinds of children are very important, because many of my friends were the same way.

One friend in particular was notorious for being so anti-social with her friends and classmates that she is still that way up to today. I imagine what her future would have looked like if she had something to this degree to help her socialize and create something with classmates and teachers. Don't get me wrong; she's not a bad person today, but she only sees her parents and teachers (because she can't avoid them in school). She constantly gets her food to-go and sits quietly in her room and reads her book while eating. She does what she enjoys, but in reference to Gilmore Girls: who's going to find the body?

This project gives me hope in helping those who need speech therapy (learning about inflection placements), those who want to learn, and those who need socialization. It's a very creative way to get the class involved in the constant learning process and keep school interesting for both the student and teacher. I'm very impressed with the thought process that must have gone into this project. She must have known a great deal would come out of it, but I believe I read somewhere that even she was impress with extra positive results. Overall, great find, and I have subscribed.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Special Blog #1

Alpha Wolfram

I found that America's population is about 309 million people. I'm not surprised that comparatively, America's ranked #3 in population. The baby boomers produced many families that heavily increased our population, but since, the average procreation has dropped from 6-5 children to 2-3 children per family. With obesity, diabetes, and heart conditions on the rise, which became a problem starting with America, and the decrease in overall procreation, America's population has started to flat line and even decrease. Statistics are already showing that our newer generations might fall prey to shorter lifespans than older generations due to malnutrition. [Perhaps this isn't a terrible thing, though. America alone uses 25% of the world's natural resources. That's right; the rest of the world lives on 75%.] In terms of America's education ranking, we are not even in the top five. Overall, Great Britain, Japan, and Germany heavily out weigh us in several categories such as mathematics and science rankings and graduation rates.*

Alpha Wolfram is a program I use semi-regularly because it's program you can ask mathematical questions to get easy step-by-step instructions in solving the equation. One can view the solution in general, but they have three opportunities per day to input an equation and view the solving instructions. To do it more often, one has to upgrade to the "Pro" version, which costs money, so I think this is a great aspect and great fault to this program. Most would rather suffer, wait, and grapple with the problem than pay a nice sum of money to use the program constantly. This ensures that the students wisely picks problems after previously struggling with it. Because of this I find it useful, though it has notoriously bad reputation. Because I underestimate the average American student many times, I would not promote the use of this program in my classroom. The fact is: if one person has access to the program, they can pass the username and password to the remaining students, crippling my homework assignments and learning objectives. Some will use the program like it's intended to, but most would rather look at the easiest route to an 'A'.

Social Media Counts

Social media is always on the rise. I knew that it was going to be on the rise since Myspace came out and was such a huge hit. This means a great deal to my approach in using technology as a major tool, but I can't estimate how much it will affect the common classroom in a few years, but as it is, the instant information is a gratifying result. I imagine to be a teacher in the 80's and earlier involved plentiful prior work put into each teaching session and far more poor communication issues in less than timely manners. As it is, the sharing of information produces amazing results in all sorts of categories.

*Site used:

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Blog Post #3

Paige Ellis's Blog (+!)

There are very few words that I can add to this topic, because it's covered thoroughly on all fronts. If someone is doing poorly, I'm not going to pass by their errors waving a handkerchief as if I'd never see them again. That is a poor outlook when doing peer editing, in my opinion. It is especially important for teachers to stomp out their weaknesses while we are in a semi-enclosed environment with our blogs. We are responsible for raising the future engineers, doctors, lawyer, and other important professions to superior standards for years to come. In addition, the common man who has a thirst for knowledge should be able to confidently come to their professor or teacher to enhance their learning experience through questions and sharp examples. If we are responsible for all this and more, shouldn't we strive for perfection in our primary subjects? People become bashful when their faults are pointed out, but these moments should just celebrated as a learning point.

In many countries, I've found that the customs of politeness, social etiquette, and learning style vary greatly. While I was eating with a Canadian Chinese friend, he and I intensely discussed our cultural differences. Our Asian cashier, hostess, and waiters were short and quick with their response times to questions and statements, but also quick with service. Many Americans would perceive this a rudeness or a rushed sense to "get in, pay, get out". He explained that this is not the case in the reversed roles because Chinese culturally assume quality service is equivalent to efficient service; therefore, cutting out the luxuries of small talk is a way they become efficient. Just the same, these cultures cut the small talk in education to get to the point of the errors. In education, their students view the pointing out of errors as a chance to re-evaluate specific work and move on with future successes. In this sense, our education cultures are different.

My point, in case I wasn't clear, was that all peer edits are great if taken in the right context. You can either be defensive and inactive or positive and pro-active; it's all about perspective. This is something most math teachers preach, and I will be no different.

New Technology for Blind and Deaf

Many of the new technology is a lot of what I've never heard of before, though I'm not surprised they exist. For many generations, the low amount of technology available to special needs students was astonishing, but I can tell that though they might be behind still, they are not too far behind. I'm interested in what the mathematics technology will be like once I become a teacher, because the man who talked about his new math braille-reading device hit the nail on the head about the awkwardness math presents when trying to teach it to students. I understand this device will only reach up to high school algebra, so I wonder about trigonometry, geometry, and calculus's current technology (all major staples in high schools and getting math related degrees).

The Ipad, though thoughtful and inventive, seems like a hassle. I would rather a student retract to basics before being subjected to using that in my classroom. If I had to adapt to this, I would do my best to work around it by having the student use headphones, with one ear phone out to listen to my instructions or lessons. I'm trying to not put it down, because I recognize this is a doorway to greater things to come. Until then, I'll do my best with what I am as a teacher.

Washington State School for the blind

Vicki Davis: Edutopia

I'm glad that she's utilized technology as a self teaching experience for her students. It sounds like someone I know... She said that she was teaching self-learners and even letting her students teach portions of the course, but I somewhat troubled by this because she didn't cover but a few programs that she was teaching students. As far as we know, they blog, use twitter, and make and control an avatar. I understand that when a student learns to complete the learning process on their own, they remember the material much better than they would have if it was just told to them, but twittering with people? I see that they are getting involved with the world, which is a positive and interesting aspect to the course, but what do they learn from this interaction?

It seems that the video should have been longer to explain the process and specify better lessons. I would have liked to have seen an interview of one of the kids in her class to understand their perspective. I want to know what they've learned, how it has changed their relationship with learning on their own, and if they felt like they have seen an improvement in their other courses because of this course. It seems like a lot to ask from a kid, but if they are excited or interested about this learning style, at least one would be able adequately explain their feelings on this subject.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Blog Assignment #2

Did you know? 3.0-A John Strange 2012 Version

With the statistics shown, I wonder if the "American Dream" will surpass the expectations of the world from now to the future. I used to think that the "American Dream" involved doing your best and developing a life in which the majority of control is based on oneself, instead of the government. I find more and more that the government and public are more comfortable with the constrictive parameters that the government leaves (until a mishap occurs in which the public can blame the government). Unfortunately, the government seems to cripple the "American Dream" by setting the bar lower and lower, therefore making unqualified people put in the position of overly qualified people, making our performance as a country a constant catch up process. The employed becomes the learner for years to come and the world is stagnant, forever waiting for the future to speedily evolve at its ever increasing speed. All the while we protest our government, elected officials we were responsible for putting into office, and the world around us keeps evolving.
As one can tell, I'm overly bitter about this subject. Who likes to think that their future government has dwindled so much that corruption in the government and people is so blatant? Neither try to hide their fault, and only push the blame. I like to think that people gave this power to our elected officials, by hiring them. When the people want something done, their elected official pushes their agenda in whatever arena they can and when it's all said and done, a majority vote is used. If the agenda wins, I guarantee that the public is whimsically unaware of the backlash that comes along with all of the votes gained. They are ignorant of the many dark alley way deals that are added to the original idea's bill. When someone finally does, it's an ugly process that involves senseless deaths during protests and the cycle continues. Adversely, the public is now expecting our government to take care of the public more than it was intended to (pushing more power into the government's hands). I fully believe that this constant turmoil between the public and government is what stops our potential. The Japanese have an insane technological growth rate on us, because the government realizes their future and constantly goes after it. The Chinese are a largely labored country and their government exploits that and America's constant want to produce an extremely fruitful future. In addition, there are numerous countries that are considered healthier than us, because their government embodies their countries values and pushes for it. We were originally a country based on life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, but as a country, how much have we really gained from working together?

Mr. Winkle Wakes- (video)

I believe that in Mr. Winkle's happiness about the schools not changing, he is largely right. The schools are highly underfunded, and the most my high school and middle school had was a TV that broadcast major news events (9/11), watching movies, and daily announcements. This was about five years ago, and I highly doubt it has changed since. One educational tool that I think is a phenomenon in the classroom, is the Smart Board. One problem many teachers have is visibility of information for student. Chalk always seems to break and doesn't clean up well; similarly, dry erase markers can stain its white board or run out after minimal use. Both are constant costs (the dry erase markers especially). With a Smart Board, there is always clarity and its overall cost generally stops at its price. Sure, one might need a repair every once in a while, but every campus has a maintenance team, so what is to stop one from putting them through a Smart Board repair seminar? 

Another technology advance that I would like to see more incorporated is the use of the teacher's computer. I know that the internet is a powerful machine that can be an amazing tool in exploring all sorts of subjects. Why not use it? I would deter students from having one at their desk, because it is the equivalent of a video game. If there is paint, hearts, cell, or mine sweep, one can be sure the student will find a way to not pay attention. Even if everything but the calculator is turned off, the student's attention will be on that. With the teacher having the computer, he/she can look up articles about the difference between MLA and APA formats, pull up the different books, videos, and pictures (using the smart board as the projection) and maintain students' attention. Teachers can also post bell ringers, quiz answers (not graded), etc. If someone has a dilemma  about the use versus cost, they should be reminded that the military has put value into these equipment for their classrooms to adequately train soldiers in their given profession. 

Ted Talks- Ken Robinson (video)

That video was brilliant. When I was in school, I wondered about the same thing. I was really good with visual art, but so many people (excluding my art teachers) were quick to ask me: how will you make a living on this? Sure, I struggled with developing my art or developing my science and mathematics, but that was how I was raised. Adults have no idea how words effect the children they talk to on a daily basis. In second grade, my teacher took us aside one by one to test us on our multiplication of twos. She said she would give us three chances in three days to pass on our own, and if we failed, we would get a zero and a referral for after school attention. Day one and two were brutal, because my classmates passed without me, so I came home in tears. I remember running to my dad and crying about my failure. In an instant, he stopped my crying and told me that we would work on this together so I could pass the next day without a doubt. An hour and a half later, I had my multiplications of twos down. The next day, I passed. When I came home, I cheered with my dad for my success.

Though a good of a lesson about hard work, I don't ever remember coming home and cheering about my successes in the arts. My parents looked at it, smiled, told me it was great, but no cheering. Why? Because, how would I make a living on that? My parents are great people, and I'm not accusing them specifically of stunting anything. If anything, they were uplifting people. They taught me what they thought was important. Every parent has done this from past to present generations. Only a handful harbor the artists, and I want to be one in that handful someday. 

Pinterest for Educators

I've already got a pinterest account and explored its world. I knew that it would be a powerful tool for more than the procrastinators, and even before this class, I looked into the world of educators using pinterest. They shared everything from specific lesson plans to interesting tutorials about projects. Overall, I understand pinterest to be a powerful tool for future use. Why work harder when one can work smarter?

The only down side to pinterest is the sifting of information. It's a flood of information that leads to poor links at times, links that one has misunderstood in its descriptions, and sometimes just useless information for what one is looking for. I imagine that mathematics is going to be a harder subject to incorporate from pinterest, but a little research usually goes a long way.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Blog Assignment #1

About Me:

I am a 22 year old female that is enveloped in the world of mathematics. It has become my home in many ways, but it wasn't always like this. In fact, when I was born to my parents (Edmund and Rebecca) I started my journey in Omaha, Nebraska. Because my family was a military family, I moved two more times: once to Honolulu, HA and then to Ocean Springs, MS. My father retired and I finished my high school (and some college) career while living with my parents. I fell in love while going to a community college with a boyfriend who I'm happily with currently!

Over the years, I've cultivated my interests to tennis, ultimate Frisbee, and cooking. I knitted scarves when my hands need something to do, but because my knitting didn't produce anything except for scarves; that interest was short lived. I also practiced martial arts religiously, but once I transferred to Mobile, AL to finish my schooling, I found few places to keep this up.

In the end, my passions have boiled to graduating college with a degree in mathematics and a degree in education. It wasn't my first choice, admittedly, but it was the right choice in the end. Mathematics poetically transcends time and language and is ever expanding, like science. The part that I love best about math: anyone can do it. Some people beg to argue with that statement, but a professor of mine put it best when he said, "I've never met someone who was unintelligent [referring to him teaching math students]."

My Future Classroom:

I want students to walk in wanting to learn about math. Alone, my passion for it doesn't stand a chance against the multitude of attitudes that would rather be at a mall, outside playing sports, or at home just "hanging out", but my passion plus the right setting, enthusiastic outlook of their futures, and my willingness to go above and beyond for the common student will hopefully catapult my vision for my future classroom.

When the first day arrives, I'd want to soak them to a habit of preparing their minds with a bell ringer. For the most part, the bell ringer (an activity for the student to do when they come into a classroom) would consist of some homework problems from the day or two before, but occasionally, I would print out articles for them to read and write about. Math journals would be boring, but career options and interesting research (where math majors venture into) would get them acquainted with the idea of their potential. In addition, the quicker they turned their brains from "socialization and/or sleepy time" to "getting ready to take notes time", the better the teaching experience becomes.

Though I will be a high school math teacher, I recognize the "ants in the pants" syndrome most students have, therefore half-way through the material would have everyone stand up to stretch for a minute before plunging back into the material. I remember having that opportunity in a specific class and thinking how revitalizing thirty seconds to a minute and a half of stretching worked in helping me to focus. I wouldn't repeat this process every day, but mostly days in which we were going through especially dry material.

Another implementation I would have in my classrooms would be to maximize their five learning senses. It's apparent that everyone doesn't learn the same way, so why should I teach to all of them using two senses when only a handful are grasping the material? Something another professor of mine told me was, from kindergarten to high school, kids are the same: they will work for a piece of candy. I would set time before class ends (maybe ten to fifteen minutes) for them to work problems from past homework and study guides. The ones whose names are pulled from a Popsicle jar would be called to the front; any that made the effort to finish the problem correctly would be rewarded with a candy of their choosing. This would once again reinforce the material given and hopefully stick with them better.

There are numerous ways I'd want to re-invent the classroom, but when all else fails, the basics will never let me down.

Dr. Randy Pausch:

I did not learn that much in this video lecture. I'm an excellent planner; my feathers do not ruffle if plans are switch, dropped, or added to my to-do list; and I am aware that if I don't do the most time sensitive and/or toughest portion of the to-do list first, my lists never seem to get shorter. If I had seen this video a few years ago, I might have had more interest in it, however my bills, schooling, two to three jobs, and homemaking duties do not allow me to veer too far off my predetermined path filled with daily lists. In fact, the keyboard I'm typing on is on top of my desk-top sized planner. Hint: it's not empty. End: Blog Assignment #1