Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Blog Post #13

A Vision of Students Today 

 In A Vision of Students Today,
Kansas State University students convey startling statistics pertaining to today's students. The message is that we presently operate our educational system in an obsolete manner that not only restricts our students' capabilities, but also does so in an inefficient and expensive way. The statistics were written on blank pages and revealed by students in a crowded auditorium. The statistics mostly pertained to overcrowded and expensive learning conditions. Also included were statistics supporting the fact that the students multi-task and use social media and technology in a disproportionate amount of time when compared to time spent in a typical and classical learning environment, chalkboard included. 
     I found the video to be very revealing. While I could relate with most of the students' statements, I still found some of the averages to be surprising. Some of the statistics include the fact that 18% of instructors knew the names of their students, and students complete 49% of assigned readings. It is pretty obvious that today's student is not engaged. As obvious as it seems that our educational system is in need of reform, there are people that look at the cry of students and teachers alike as complaining. I discovered an example of this in the comments of the video. While there were far more comments suggesting support for these ideas, there were still rebuttals suggesting technology would be used inappropriately by students. The longer we deny technology from the classroom, the further we fall behind as a nation in terms of education and innovation. The sooner we make steps to change this is about the same moment our students will know what it is like to learn in a truly effective learning environment.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Little Kids... Big Potential

Little Kids... Big Potential

   In Little Kids... Big potential, Kathy Cassidy showcases the methods by which her first grade students learn through technology. They use blogs, a classroom web page, wikis, video, Skype and Nintendo DS to share, collaborate and learn in their classroom. The video features several students discussing the methods they use to learn. They practice their vocabulary and writing abilities through writing on their blog. They use the web page to collaborate with their classmates as well as organize their learning tools, of which they can access even when at home. The class created a wiki to find new information. They use Skype to collaborate with another first grade class in another town. They use their Nintendo DS to play games that helps them to work on spelling and math.
   Mrs. Cassidy is doing an amazing job of creating a great foundation for her students. She is instilling in them the skills necessary to succeed in the proverbial tomorrow. It is amazing to see students so young display such mastery of PLNs.
   As a future social studies teacher, I can see so many benefits to come out of this type instruction. By utilizing web pages and blogs, I could ask my students to write daily on their own personal blogs on topics related to the curriculum we are studying. This would give the students an opportunity to showcase the work for all to see. Not only would this give them the confidence for writing for an audience, they would have the ability to read their fellow classmates' blogs and collaborate with them accordingly. I also believe that a wiki dedicated to historically relevant information would would be a great location for students to turn to when the time comes to write a paper or report.
   The possibilities for implementing these type techniques in the classroom are endless. I could see myself using every technique featured in the video. While high school history students might not receive a lot of benefit from playing Nintendo DS games designed to improve basic vocabulary, they would most definitely benefit from organizing a personal learning network. This would enhance their education not only in relation to the class I teach, but with every class they ever take. Every student we teach, we have the opportunity to enrich our student's academic abilities that span outside of our own disciplines. By using technology in my history class, they are preparing themselves to succeed in a later class.
   The classroom featured in this video is the classroom of the future. How well we as teachers incorporate technology into our classroom directly effect what our students accomplish in the future in a technological world.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Special Assignment

A World Where Grades Are Left Behind
   Mary Beth Marklein spotlights in her article the online venture of Google VP and professor Sebastian Thrun. She showcases an unprecedented education system that focuses on free, or close to free education for the masses.
   Thrun established this online entity in Palo Alto, CA just down the street from where he professes at Standford University. His "classroom," if that's what you can call it is a cramped soundproof studio ladened with "twenty something" graphic designers building the courses that will appear on the site entitled Udacity. The site gives it's users the ability to learn for free as well as it's administrators the ability to convey information to large numbers of people. The system offers those yearning to learn the opportunity to learn from top experts of specific fields with no or relatively small costs. Where the instruction is designed to be free, there will no doubt be costs associated with examinations and certifications. But for the most part, tests and grades are held separate from the education.
   Thrun says that his type system will "involve a sequence of increasingly more challenging exercises and quizzes aimed at helping students master a particular concept or skill." It will not replace the traditional classroom just as movies did not replace live theater. It is just another way to supplement learning in an "industry that is long over due for an overhaul."
    As a future educator, I find this type education to be a great opportunity for people seeking to expand on a particular skill or concept. As far as an overall education, direct instruction is required. I do not perceive the arguments discussed in this article to threaten the jobs of educators, but to suggest that a well balanced, thorough education can be obtained strictly online is unrealistic. Whereas education is overdue for overhaul, the concept of brick and mortar schoolhouses is not. In order for students to achieve a well rounded and thorough education, they must leave their residences and interact with people. There is alot more to learn about life than the curriculum relayed over the internet. As far as people seeking supplemental education, Thrun's classes and classes like it seem to be perfect. I read somewhere that more people learn to play an instrument than before because of the rampant (and free) instruction that can be found online. Where people used to have to seek someone to instruct them directly, usually for a price, they now can learn as much as they want to without a cost. Furthermore, they can do so at their own terms on their own schedule. This is no different than Thrun's class.
   As far as the fore mentioned "industry overhaul" is concerned, our education system does in fact need to incorporate technology at a rate that not only meets that of other industries, but probably should exceed other industries with a priority that is appropriate for an industry (education) that is our future. With that said, a "flipped classroom" and classrooms equipped with the latest of technological advances brought by expanded budgets should be applied. Our ideal future for education is not an internet system that can accommodate thousands of students.  Our ideal future is teachers directly instructing students in classrooms (as they have always), excpet they do so with unlimited hi-tech resources at their disposal.  

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Project #10

Which tile would you like to add?

Here you can add a new tile to your webmix. Search for a name, subject or website in the field above.
Can't find the tile you are looking for? click here to create your own tile. or make a new webmix with the quickstart

Blog Post #9

Joe McClung's Blog post for May 27, 2008-09

   I found Mr. McClung's reflection on his first year to be very interesting. I found it to be informative and I believe there is a lot of great information within for a first year teacher. Many of his thoughts regarding his first year align with my concerns going into education.
   Upon first arriving at Mr. McClung's blog paragraphs, titles like "Be Flexible", "Be Reasonable", and "Communicate" suggested to me I might be in store for a blog post consisting of information I already knew, subsequently wasting my time. I was mistaken. I found each point to be common sense, yet informative and if nothing else a great reminder of the characteristics that make an educator a great one.
   Among the various principles that Mr. McClung spoke on in his post, I found his assertions on flexibility and communication to be the most beneficial to me. Principles learned in early elementary school, we all know how to communicate effectively with others and to remain flexible with things do not go as exactly as planned. There is no exception in the classroom. As Mr. McClung points out, the lesson you teach and the one you plan are almost always different. You have to be flexible in order to make the lesson as effective as it can be. Along with flexibility, communication with students and teachers alike is vital for healthy workplace relationships and essential to gaining the respect and attention from your students.
   Along with other great points, Joe MccClung did a wonderful job of laying a blueprint for a new teacher to establish a great learning environment for their students and a great working relationship with their fellow teachers.

Joe McClung's Blog post for

   It is obvious that Mr. McClung has a come a long way in his professional career in the four years that separates the blog posts I chose to write about. Similar to his first year's post, Mr. McClung is reflecting on the year.
   In this post, Mr. McClung has found that he has become somewhat comfortable and has relaxed prohibiting him from being the best educator he can be. I imagine that this happens to everyone. It is the educators that realize the condition and work to correct it that make a difference. Like Mr. McClung, it is important to revitalize your techniques and continue learning to teach. He has the fortune of teaching new courses next year which will force him to create new methods of delivering new curriculum.
   Mr. McClung also discusses his feelings on the relationship he has with fellow teachers and his concerns with how they view him professionally. I think it is so refreshing to read an educator's viewpoints of their past school year that includes not only the relationships with their students but their peers as well.
   I can see where a blog like this would be very helpful to other teachers. I look forward to implementing a personal blog myself that will have a similar affect on up and coming teachers as this one did me.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Project # 9

Sam Krhut's EDM310 Class Blog: Project #7: American History Timeline

Blog Post #8

This is How We Dream

   In This is How We Dream Parts 1 and 2, Richard Miller explains to his viewers that the methods of information composition are changing. Where students once used pencil, paper, and word processors, they now compose with technology using visual and audio supplements to improve the presentation of information.
   It does not take a technologically affluent individual to realize that our lives have changed with the emergence of great technological innovation. And at the fore front of such technological advance is the ability to communicate globally and instantaneously. This ability gives us the opportunity to collaborate with people all over the world. The video suggests that for the sake of the humanities, we should start presenting our information compositions as beautiful and compelling. By doing so, we enrich the learning process for all who view your academic work. As the video also suggested, the ability to communicate so efficiently allows for ideas to be pushed into our culture rapidly. We, as educators should be at the front of these conversations and presenting aesthetically pleasing, accurate representations of our disciplines.
   Personally, I have never used tools like these to help me with presentation of information. While I feel I am slightly more prepared to use multi media to write since I started EDM310, I also realized that I have a long way to go until I am confident enough to instruct others. I have a personal goal to make myself very familiar with writing using alternate multi media outlets before I start teaching, giving my students the opportunity to succeed in a ever-changing academic environment.

Carly Pugh's Blog Post #12

   Carly Pugh's assignment was to create a Youtube playlist while meeting the following requirements:
1) describe the kind of teacher you would like to be
2) show ways you can motivate your students
3) offer tips on classroom management.
4) offer tutorials on programs you have learned about in this class that you like so much you would like to use (podcast, iPods, PLN's, etc.)
5) are on topics related to your field of study; for example, if you are going to be an English Teacher, include videos about Shakespeare, poetry, novels, things of that nature.
6) describe what a good teacher is and what a bad teacher is
7) ways to improve modern education as we know it
8) have been used in other blog posts from this semester. It could be a video you had to write about or one posted on the blog of a fellow classmate, teacher, or classroom's blog.
9) center around creativity.
10) advocate challenging, motivating, encouraging, and supporting students
   Carly's post was very aligned with Richard Miller's thoughts on writing using multi media tools. I like the idea of using a Youtube playlist to qualify the different criteria listed in Carly's post as an assignment for EDM310. It is creative and requires it's participants to utilize tools that Richard Miller encourages his viewers to employ.

EDM310 Is Different

   In the video Edm 310 for Dummies, two students demonstrate how the class can sometimes be frustrating and overwhelmed with an award deserving performance. Only after obtaining the book Edm 310 For Dummies do the girls relax and start getting something from the class.
   I can relate to this video. I was very frustrated in the beginning as I was not the best with social media and technology in general. Before diving into assignments, I dedicated myself to learning what I knew would be required to do well in the class. Only after learning Google Docs, Twitter, Blogger, and Youtube did I start feeling more confident about my grasp on this class. I have also learned that comprehension of all the tools used in EDM310 is half of the battle. You also have to manage your time appropriately. I believe that EDM310 is a lesson in time management just as much as it is anything else.

   In the video The Chipper Series, a student by the name of Chipper approaches Dr. Strange about changing things up in her class. She approaches him about turning assignments in late as well as his methods of teaching. She procrastinates and turns assignments in late, yet expects to receive credit. After becoming frustrated, she leaves school and starts her own, Timeline Pilot School. Timeline Pilot School a flexible school that allows it's students to come and go as they please and set the methods of their own learning. The school ultimately fails and she decides to pursue teaching. Only after being fired for not showing up does she decide to get her act together.
   It is important to view school as a job, because that is what it is preparing us for. Our instructors, we should view as bosses. Just as true for school, it is unacceptable in most occupations to do as you please, set your own time restraints, and adjust for any other pressures. It is the student's job to take their academics seriously and do as their told. It is not required to agree with all of your professors. But for most classes, it is required to attend class and turn in assignments on time. It is our generation of students that have developed a sense of entitlement that caters to a way of thinking that is self absorbed and lazy. We, as educators must confront this with teaching techniques that promote independent thinking and assignments that require discipline and creativity.

Learn to Change, Change to Learn

   In the video Learn to Change, Change to Learn, distinguished individuals in education discuss the need for reform in the classroom.
   In the first seconds of the video, one of the educators stated that the Department of Commerce ranked the industries in order of their technological presence. Of the 55 industries, education ranked 55th just below coal mining. It is evident that reform is needed.
   The proof is in the pudding. I constatnly see data that emphasizes our decline in education when compared to other nations. We are witnessing our students becoming less engaged in their education. This is most likely the cause of the sense of entitlement that is present in today's students. As discussed in the video, the literacies required to succeed in today's world is different from those required in previous generations. We treat the classroom like we do the factory with emphasis on order and control. What we need is a system dedicated to using the latest technological tools to educate our students. Today's students will be required to know how to find information, validate that information, leverage that information, and colaborate with the information. To enlist these skills in our students require we aggresively assert technology into our education system.

Scavenger Hunt 2.0

   In this assignment, we were required to locate three of the following options and follow the instructions in the course instuction manual. I found the following:

 1.  Similiar to Facebook and Twitter, Ning uses the social media platform to enable it's users to interact with one another. From my investigation, Ning would be even more beneficial for educators. Just like Facebook and Twitter, you can interact with other users and share content instantaneously. Unlike it's counterparts, Ning emphasizes the ability to organize and share the stage to keep content fresh. You are able to let members share photos, voice opinions in comments and blogs, bring stories to life with videos, and feed into the excitement of interaction with a more aesthetically pleasing way of sharing content.

3. I created a comic using Make Beliefs Comix. My comix can be found at Sam's Comic. I can see where this tool would be a great activity for the classroom. I see it as a fun tool to spark the imagination of your students. By making my own comic, I was required to come up with something imaginative and creative. By asking my students to use Make Beliefs Comix, I will be asking them to do the same thing.

5. I created a poll which can be found at Poll Everywhere.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Project #8

The Networked Student

   The networked student pays mind to how students are adapting in the twenty first century. The video narrates the learning strategies associated with a student subscribing to "connectivism", a theory centered around the idea of using technology to establish professional relationships to help create a more diverse and effective learning environment. It stands to reason that if you connect and calibrate with more people in your field, you are going to learn more. The internet has given us the opportunity to coordinate simultaneous content change with the ability to connect with others which has culminated a very diverse learning platform.
   The Networked Student introduced me to new ideas. Applying lectures from top professors to his mp3 player, the character in this short video utilized his technological devices to surround himself with learning material from his field. I also found it very interesting that the character organized information found online into a "textbook" of sorts on one of his social bookmarking sites. This is extremely beneficial to him in the realm of organization, but also to other learners who can take advantage of the work he has done to organize it.
   As a future educator, it is important to realize the role of teacher in this type of learning arena. While teaching strategies should adapt with the changing world we live in, it is vital for the instructor to realize there strategies should reflect appropriately upon our students. To instruct traditionally to a classroom full of tech savvy teenagers would prove futile. It is our role as 21st century teachers to teach our students how to build the networks discussed in this video. He have to be present to give guidance when our students get stuck, as they certainly will at times. Our students will have access to communication with people all over the world and it is important for us to instruct them on how to communicate through technology, but also how to decipher good information from propaganda.
   I see myself as a somewhat technological affluent person, but I am constantly shown new and innovative methods of applying technology to the classroom. This video has shown me several new ideas to incorporate the ideals of connectivism into my classroom. I will be the educator that prepares my students with how to learn in a diverse, technological learning environment opposed to the traditional "burp-back" education.

A seventh Grader's Personal Learning Environment
   I was extremely impressed with the personal learning environment of this student. It was extremely organized, and I can see where her environment will prove to be effective in her education. Looking back on my education, I think that tools like this would have done wonders for my attempts at staying on track with my studies. Not only for organization purposes though, I think that I would have found this type learning fun whereas normal pen and paper exercises left me unengaged.
    As to my personal learning environment, it fails in comparison to the one shown in the video. I learned a thing or two from the seventh grader featured in the video. I realized through this video that I need to incorporate Google Docs into more than I do. This would be a great start to organizing my personal learning environment.

Monday, October 8, 2012

C4K September 2012

 C4K September Summary

For C4K #1, I was assigned a student from New Zealand. The young lady named Rebekah was asked by her teacher to tell a short st4ory on her blog. She told a story about a young girl and her sister who visited the beach. On their trip to the beach one of the little girls lost her hair band. The two girls searched for the head band until it was found. I commented on the story by telling the student that I enjoyed her story and also complimented her on how colorful her blog was.

For C4K #2, I was assigned a young lady attending a boarding school. Her most recent post told of her efforts in an AP US Government class and how she was dealing with time management and procrastination. I commented to the effect that she was a mature student and that with such self awareness about her academics, she was going to accomplish great things.

Project #7

American History Timeline


Blog Post #6

Randy Pausch's Last Lecture

   In my academic career, I have never been more moved by an assignment. The last time I viewed a video featuring Dr. Randy Pausch, I was extremely entertained, more more importantly motivated and enlightened. This time, however, I found myself more moved by a lecture than I ever have before.
   With Fall Break, I found it a good opportunity to visit home and take advantage of mom's cooking and take care of some pressing laundry matters. As I opened this assignment, my mother asked me if what I was viewing was Randy Pausch's Last Lecture. While I was not surprised by her knowledge of him (as she has worked in academia for over thirty years), I was surprised that she was so passionate about how moving his last lectures are.
    While I may be forced to admit that I have a short attention span and sometimes find hour plus lectures to be somewhat painful to sit through, this one was entirely different. I found myself taking notes, not for assignment purposes, but for personal gain. I felt strongly about the last video I watched featuring Dr. Pausch, but The Last Lecture was on another level.
    As Dave Ramsey is to financial advice, Dr. Pausch was/is to education. As a future educator, I feel as though if one were to apply his common sense principles to educating their students, then there is a good possibility that they too would make an impact comparable to the one that he is still making post posthumously. As the fifteen million two hundred thirty seven thousand nine hundredth something person to have viewed this lecture, I would imagine that a very good percentage of those people were moved to be better by this video. I know I was.
    The video touched on so much more than just being a solid educator. It focused on being a solid human being. His focus on doing the right thing for the right reasons and focusing on others as fundamentals is something that we have all heard before. But to hear it from a man who has accepted an illness that would inevitably kill him sounds a different tune. While he was entertaining and considerate to his audience, I sensed a tone in his lecture that signified that he desperately wanted to leave behind words that meant something to more than just his students. I think it is safe to say that his mission was accomplished.  
    On a personal level, I have never been more pumped about becoming an educator. In a mundane academic setting, it is easy for students to lose focus. I want to establish an academic arena comparable to that of Dr. Pausch's. While I will never contribute ground breaking research on virtual reality nor gain tenure at one of our country's premier universities, I am confident that I can instill a percentage of the motivation to learn into my students what Dr. Randy Pausch did in me in the last one hour and sixteen minutes.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Project #6

Blog Post #5

The iSchool Initiative

   Travis Allen was obviously a motivated and innovative high school senior. As a senior in high school, I was more interested in what girls were in my class and whether my grades were high enough to keep me clear from parental enforced probationary periods. I was far from forming international initiatives like The iSchool Initiative.
   The idea of incorporating iTouches into classrooms to supplement learning is not necessarily a revolutionary idea I'm sure. I am sure there are teachers out there that incorporated the device into their classroom when they first came out. However, to suggest that we replace traditional classroom tools with the iTouches is brilliant. The iSchool apps discussed in the iSchool Initiative would make for great learning devices to replace books, calculators, maps, globes, and paper products.
   In Zeitgeist's Young Mind's entry, it was plain to see that Travis Allen's efforts over the past three years have payed off. He looks to have created quite a program that is making a big impact on our education system.
   I think that the idea is brilliant. The apps used for examples in the video all seem as though they would work perfectly to not only replace school supplies, but to help students with organization, as well as establish better communication between students, teachers, and parents. Personally, I feel as though a pro verse con list for applying the use of iTouches into our school systems would result in a long list of reasons to utilize this initiative. I may be forced to admit that I play devil's advocate more times than not and instinctively look for reasons not to enforce a new idea. I was at lost for such practices with Allen's idea. In fact, it's surprising that his movement is not bigger than it is.
Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir

   This video was amazing. As an advocate for music of all kinds, I appreciated the musical aspect of the video. Even more impressive, the amount of coordination that must have been involved is impressive not only on a technological platform, but a musical one as well. To line up each participant's contribution to such perfect alignment must have been pain staking. I love the idea of incorporating this kind of use of technology into music. I noticed in the credits that Virtual Choir featured singers from all over the world. It is amazing to think that this composer could use singers from so many different places and still collaborate with all of them and put together such a beautiful piece of music.

Teaching in the 21st Century

   According to Kevin Roberts, to teach in the 21st century is a shift in the traditional form of instruction including the presentation of facts and content to the now of helping to filter information students have access to. I am inclined to agree with most of Roberts' assertions. While I do agree that educators should adapt to more of a facilitator of building skills, there will always be a place for formal instruction. Mathematics still have formulas and our histories will not change. While students now have different outlets to access this information, there is still and forever will be the need for an educator to present these to students. There are certain disciplines that social medias and technologies should supplement rather than replace.
    Students do have the ability now days to access a plethora of information from countless sources due to technology. It is very important for educators to arm students with the abilities to not only access and process this information, but to also teach them how to assimilate new information with old as well as filter fact from fiction.
    In Teaching in the 21st Century, I loved the emphasis that Roberts placed on the difference between entertainment and engagement. In a world of decreasing attention spans, teachers aim to entertain students while spoon feeding curriculum. It is imperative that we as educators of tomorrow make sure to instead engage our students, igniting creativity and originality within.

Flipping the Classroom

   I love the idea of this approach of instruction. As a student, I often times found myself in the groupings of students outside of the norm described by Katie Gimbar's Flipping the Classroom. In some disciplines, I grasped the information quickly and became bored with the slow pace of instruction leading to a lack of concentration. In other subjects, I found myself slow to understand leading to discouragement and frustration. In both circumstances, the lesson outside of the first couple of minutes was rendered useless. I was a goner. As mentioned in Dr. Lodge McCammon's Fizz-Flipping the Classroom, lecture was ineffective and a waste of time for me and students like me.
   To use videos for instruction for use by students before class is brilliant. This puts the pace at which they learn in their own hands with the option of pausing and rewinding. It is much more interactive than traditional homework that I was inclined to and would have supplemented my homework experiences dramatically.
    While this is a great idea, I feel as though it could be used more in some disciplines than others. For example, I aim to teach history/social studies in the future. I can definitely see where a tactic like this would be awesome for a history teacher. But in the same respect, our history is a story that needs to be told. The application process of history is different than say the application of mathematics. There is an inherit need for history to be told, and many times an application exercise of curriculum in a history course involves direct instruction.