Sunday, December 5, 2010

Final Project

Summary Post C4K #4

My fourth teacher I was assigned is Jo Fothergill. He's a teacher in New Zealand and his blog covers a wide variety of topics and experiences.

The first post I commented on was entitled "Writing Revolution". Mr. Fothergill shares his enthusiasm for his kids use of kidsblogs. He notes the drastic increase in both post writing and commenting. I wrote that I was glad to read his post because it validated everything we had been learning in EDM310.

The second post I commented on was a video entitled "8 Keys to Success". The video is a presentation by Richard St. John in which he reports the most common reasons successful people give for being successful. The 8 are Passion, Work, Focus, Persist, Ideas, Good, Push, and Serve. I commented that these were all qualities that I aspire to achieve and that the list would be a great tool for self reflection.


I chose Symbaloo for my PLN. In my first report I mentioned that I had done very little work on my PLN. I think there is a significant difference between then and now.

My PLN has links to several blog sites that I can reference for information on Tech projects, SMARTboards, and day to day observations. Also, on my PLN I have Gmail, Youtube, and Facebook. I have CNN for world news and for local news.

A few personal favorites are my Saints, South Alabama, and Auburn football sites. I have a link to my blog and to Twitter.

I think the best part of my PLN is the different blogs. Each one of them has information about different topics that I either have encountered or will encounter. Last but not least, I have a link to EDM310 so that I can keep tabs on the latest news in Technology-Education.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Blog Post #13

The assignment for this post was to review current state initiatives (Alabama), specifically ALEX.

ALEX Alabama Learning Exchange- This is a program that provides, much like it's name implies, a site for the exchange of information between teachers and other groups. Some of the information available includes web links and lesson plans covering all of the subjects. I specifically investigated the resources available for High School Social Studies Teachers. I found some great Economics lesson plans covering a range of concepts that I thought would be very useful.

ALEX also has a very nice podcast directory and a well organized section for professional development. My overall impression of ALEX is very positive. I found the site as a whole to be very helpful and extremely well organized. I have to admit, when I read the requirements for this assignment that I was skeptical of what I would find (Alabama doesn't have the best reputation on educational matters), but I found the site to be very professional.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Survey Results

The survey I created asked a variety of questions. I gathered info about topics ranging from area of study to favorite football team.

According to my survey, 84% of respondents were female and of those 81% live off campus. One hundred percent of the males lived off campus. Zero percent of respondents lived in a fraternity or sorority house.

The Junior class composed 47% of the sample followed by Sophmores (26.5%), Seniors (21%), and Freshmen (5.5%).

Sixty three percent of respondents were Elementary Education majors compared to 21% majoring in Secondary Education. One hundred percent of the Elementary Education majors were female whereas 40% of Secondary Education majors were male.

On the technology front, laptop computers were by far the most owned devices with 89.5% of those surveyed owning at least one. Thirty seven percent of respondents owned a desktop followed by the 11% who owned a Macbook.

The Macbook owners seemed to be the most tech. savvy with 100% of them owning at least one more gadget. Seventy one percent of desktop owners owned another device followed by 58% of laptop owners.

Macbook owners also gave themselves high marks on the rate your tech. literacy question. The average ratings for the three were as follows:
    Macbook- 4.5/5
    Laptop-  3.7/5
    Desktop- 3.0/5
   *5 being most profecient and 1 being least profecient

On the topic of football, 68% of the respondents reported pulling for Alabama, followed closely by South Alabama (63%). Of the Alabama fans that responded, 70% reported being a fan of at least one more team. One hundred percent of them also pulled for South Alabama. Ninety two percent of South Alabama fans pulled for another team, the most popular being Alabama (75%). Twenty one percent of the respondents were Auburn fans with 50% of those rooting for an additional team. Zero percent of them, however, also cheered for South Alabama.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Final Project Progress Report

At this point I'm torn on what to do with my project. I think that I'm leaning towards making a website that will offer instructions for many of the activities that we've used in this class. I'm not sure if I want the site to be geared towards helping EDM310 students though. I think it would be great to have easy, accessible instructions for teachers. This would be creating a technological classroom 101 or a one stop shop for implementing basic tech tools in your classroom. I have iWeb on my computer and it seems fairly easy to use.

I need to find a partner still and I have to admit that I haven't begun to look. I also need to begin gathering resources and instructions.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Blog Post #12

This is a video on cyber-bullying. Ryan Halligan was a 7th grader who committed suicide in 2003 as a result of cyber-bullying. As classrooms become more "connected" it is a problem you need to be informed about. What steps can you take to prevent this behavior from affecting your students? How might you handle a case of cyber-bullying in your classroom?

Blog Post #11


Monday, November 8, 2010

C4K Summary #2

Kids 3-7- My journey through kids blogs this past month brought me to the far off lands of Australia and England, as well as here at home in the U.S. The topics covered included what we would do if we were invisible, a day on a sailboat, and how we celebrate mothers day in different countries. Overall I was very impressed with the writing of the students. The most impressive to me was a by named Dillon. Dillon is a 5th year student in England and he wrote about sailing: 

It was a windy day, a cold and gale force wind was biting my warm face on the Ted Ashby. When we were on the sail boat we went towards the Harbour bridge with the wind blowing against our clothes. The wind moved the boom left to right. The icy wind was blowing heavily and strongly.
Pulling and heaving with all my might the sails were slowly going up. I struggled as I heaved, pulling the sheet fast with the wind blowing on the sails. I was wondering if the sailors thought it was a hard job, because for me it was.

I commented that I thought he was a fantastic writer. I also mentioned that I have been sailing on Mobile Bay. I thought his description was fantastic.

The only post I got feedback on was a girl named Vanessa who is competing in an international blog competition. I mentioned that I was from the U.S. and she asked which state and how did I come across her blog. I responded that I was assigned her blog as part of a college course where we read blogs like hers so that we can teach our students to blog one day.

I enjoyed reading many of the posts by these young bloggers even the ones I didn't comment on. I could also see improvement in writing style and technique from the first post to the last.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Summary Post C4T #3

My third teaching blog to follow was that of St. Pius X School in New Zealand. I found this blog to be very helpful for teachers wanted to take a more digital approach to education. They seem very willing to share their experiences and have come up with some great ideas for teaching through technology.

The first post I commented on was titled "A New Twist to Parent Engagement". The post was about a parents night where the parents came up to the school and were taught how to use computers by the students. I thought this was a great idea. I'm sure it gave the kids a lot of confidence and it also showed them how committed their parents were to their education.

The second post was titled "Blogger Improves Comment Management". I chose this post to comment on because it seemed relevant. I'm responsible for managing my own blog which is fairly uneventful, but, when I'm responsible for managing an entire classes, I'm sure I'll need some help. This post was about some of the ways Blogger has improved our ability to manage the comments that are made on our posts. Very insightful.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Blog Post #10

An Open Letter to Educators- Morgan Bayda's blog post about her experiences in a university setting. She supplements her post with a video by Dan Brown (a former university student). In his video Dan makes the case that if universities don't make a change then they will become obsolete. I don't think anyone who has attended a university can claim a different experience than Morgan's. I found that my first two years had more lectures than my upper level classes which tended to be more interactive.

I think this video is a perfect example of why we need universities. What I saw was a video by a college dropout who blamed his education or lack thereof on his college not himself. He proceeded to give us a history of learning, from the viewpoint of a college dropout mind you, and a prediction of the future. In any other era this "information" would be marginalized. Thanks to technology, however, mr. Brown has an audience. This in my opinion is the number one problem with the digital age: lack of integrity. Who is Dan Brown? What are his qualifications for delivering this history/prediction lesson?

In a world where everyone has a stage how do you determine fact from opinion? What Dan delivered was an opinion. Does he make some relevant points? Sure. Is he in a position to shape minds on higher educations future? NO. If your going to a university to learn how to do a specific job, your in the wrong place, find a trade school.
Don't Let Them Take Pencils Home- A blog post by John Spencer, an educator in Phoenix, AZ. Mr Spencer shares a story about an altercation with his school's instructional interventionist over allowing his kids to take pencils home. She claims that studies show that kids who take pencils home score lower on standardized tests, therefore, don't let them take the pencils home and they'll do better on the tests. I think that this is a story that far to many teachers are familiar with in some form or fashion. It seems rather ridiculous that research would indicate something so silly. It's even worse that an instructor would recommend the result which defy logic.
What is My Sentence?- I hope that when my time is up "I searched, found, lived, and taught truth to all who would listen."

Am I Better Today Than I Was Yesterday?- I pride myself on being my toughest critic. It feels like I progress one day and then regress the next. I'm good about learning from my mistakes and those of others, but, my stubbornness sometimes limits my progress.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Blog Post #9

What I've Learned this Year- A blog post by Mr. McClung, a teacher in Fayetteville, Arkansas. This post is a reflection on his first year teaching. He begins by reminding us that our lessons should be student or audience focused. He urges us to be flexible. Don't set your expectations so high that a minor blip derails your days plans. He stresses the value of good communication with your students and coworkers. As first year teachers I'm sure we will lean heavily on our fellow teachers. He suggests that we "be reasonable", and states that "our job as teachers is to simply pick them up after they fail, dust them off, and encourage them to try again". Two final suggestions that he makes are to continue learning and to not be afraid of technology.

I really enjoyed Mr. McClung's blog post. Anytime someone in your profession shares their experiences you should try to learn from them.  What I learned from Mr. McClung was the underlying theme of his suggestions, ATTITUDE. Lessons won't always go the way you plan them, co-workers won't always see things the way you see them, and students won't always achieve what you hoped they would. The attitude that you bring to the table will make or break your year. So, Focus on your students, Be flexible, Set realistic expectations, Be a good communicator, Be reasonable, Continue learning, and Embrace technology!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Additional Assignment #2

How Kids Teach Themselves- A presentation by Dr. Sugata Mitra about the results of his experiments in countries around the world. Dr. Mitra gives children computers and the internet and charges them with learning seemingly impossible subjects in languages foreign to their own. I was impressed by the resilience of the children and their ability to learn without structured curriculum or even guidance. I believe that, in most cases, people do have the ability to learn anything if they are motivated, especially the young. I'm amazed, however, that they can teach themselves. Apparently the only items necessary to learn are access to information and desire. In a lot of cases that information comes from the teacher, in this case it's Google. Google, and the internet in general, replace the teacher in these experiments, and are very effective.

I personally learn what I'm interested in, and what is necessary. Learning to become an instructor requires that I go to class and therefore have an instructor. In general my instructors set goals for what I'll learn, provide instruction (in various forms), and then test me to determine my proficiency.  As a supplement to this instruction I also do a good deal of web searching, to further enhance my understanding.

The most important idea that I took from watching this video is that my work as a teacher does not have to be limited to my classroom. There are kids all around the world that I may have access to and I can dedicate some of my time to making a difference in some of the poorest areas of the world.

Blog Post #8

This is How We Dream Pt.1 & 2- These videos are a presentation by Dr. Richard E. Miller. Dr. Miller teaches writing courses at Rutgers University and has written several books. In his most recent book Writing at the End of the World, Dr. Miller addresses several questions including "what do the humanities have to offer the twenty-first century?", and "does it make sense to go on writing in a world full of books that none reads?". He seems very dedicated to discovering what form literature will inhabit in the future and how will our styles of writing and publishing change.

In these videos Dr. Miller presents the changes our forms of communication are experiencing and will experience. Today, for the first time, a single person can communicate with anyone around the globe in a fraction of a second using the internet and digital technologies. So, what does thin mean for our existing forms of communication? It means that they will have to adapt to fit into new moulds. For centuries, predating the Great Library of Alexandria, libraries were the center of knowledge to their communities. According to Dr. Miller, those days are over. The new "library" has an unlimited supply of each book or article or map. The new "library" also more effectively facilitates exchange, among people from all parts of the world.

Dr. Miller's purpose for this presentation is to give a glimpse into the future of humanities. In other words, we've already seen the differences in the "place" people will go to acquire information, so what type of information will they be seeking. Fortunately, Dr. Miller provides the answer. Documents in the future will not be limited by paper, therefore, text and pictures alone will be inadequate. These new documents will be an assembly of audio clips, video clips, maps, and real time charts, with traditional text and pictures all merged into one file. They will be inviting and informative, a collaboration of all the available data for a given subject.

I personally am not prepared to write with multimedia (not far from it though). My students, after a few instructions, will be. This style is perfect for today's student. I believe it will breathe life into outdated forms of instruction.

The Chipper Series & EDM310 for Dummies- Both of these videos were made to inform students new to EDM310 of what's expected of them and how to be successful in the class. I personally liked both videos. If I had to make a different video with the same goals, I think I would lean towards a reality style video. It would be Real Worldesque with a "confessional" (more of a VLog) that would have students talking about their impressions of the class or their assignment. At the end of the semester you could assemble the videos of each student to see how or if their impressions changed.

A Discussion on SmartBoards- This assignment involved reading two bloggers accounts of the wastefulness of purchasing Smartboards or IWBs (Interactive White Boards). I have to say that I thought both of their opinions were ignorant. Neither of these two visionaries were able to figure out the usefulness of the boards other than:
          1) As a means of replacing the mouse for control of the computer
          2) As a means to capture a screen shot in order to save your work
Really? Thats like saying iPhones are useless because all you can do is call people and listen to music. As far as I can tell the Smartboard is an extension of your computer, so it stands to reason that are tons of activities available for use on your Smartboard. What if you were to use Skype on your Smartboard and bring classes from across the world together for a lesson. Or, during these times of budget deficits you could arrange for a trainer at an aquarium or zoo to interact with your class so that they could experience the field trip that "just wasn't in the budget".

I searched for two sources that support the use of Smartboards but they were considerably harder to find. I guess there's truth to the saying "Everybody's a skeptic". The two sources I found:
          1) - A good
              resource for teachers looking to get more from their equipment.
          2) - Lists of
              different uses for Smartboards.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


I chose Symbaloo to organize my infant PLN. I chose it because it's very easy to use and customize. In my webmix I have links to Twitter, YouTube, and Wikipedia for reference. I have links to the University of South Alabama and USA Football for school related activities. A couple of web magazines that I read, Time and Newsweek for national discussion, and for local news. I also have links to elearning Blog and Keeping Kids First, two blogs that I began following in EDM310, as well as my blog and the EDM 310 Blog.

I feel like the area where I need to improve the most is my Twitter network. I like using Symbaloo and could have utilized it years ago. Everything that I do on the web now will go through this program which should bring my organization and efficiency to a new level.

Blog Post #7

Randy Pausch Last Lecture- Great lecture from someone that all teachers should aspire to emulate. Dr. Pausch teaches because he wants to make a difference in the world. This has to be one of the best talks I've ever listened to for many reasons.  First, he gives an honest account of his life  including his successes and failures.  In each of his failures he finds the positive and perseveres. Each "brick wall" he notes, is only meant to keep out those who lack the determination to bust through it.

The second reason this talk was great was because he shares invaluable advice about how to approach your goals. He set goals for himself when he was young and attained them in one way or another as an adult. This focus and drive to achieve is contagious. When you see someone set a lofty goal and attain it, it builds confidence that all goals are attainable with hard work.

I also liked how Dr. Pausch didn't settle for teaching large groups of students. He searched for a way to give every one access to the skills that he developed. He went as far as to create a program that is widely available. He was passionate about making learning fun.

One thing that inspired me from a teaching stand point, is his willingness to think outside the box. Don't be afraid to try something new or embrace an untried method, it might revolutionize the way a student learns. This is very appropriate for EDM310 because the technologies that we are utilizing in class are not widely used in today's classroom.

The main point that I took from this lecture, though, is to never let an opportunity to inspire others pass you by. After receiving his grim news Dr. Pausch could have easily stayed home with his family, but he chose to have a positive impact on millions instead. We all need to be watchful for when that moment presents itself and choose to make a difference.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

C4T#2 Summary

eLearning Blog Don't Waste Your Time- This is a blog by David Hopkins. Mr. Hopkins is a learning technologist at Bournemouth University. His blog is a great resource for those interested in using technology in the learning process.

Presentation Twitter in the Classroom, What Next?- Mr. Hopkins provides a great slideshow as well as several links that explain twitter and its uses in education. I found each of these to be very useful. In my comment I told Mr. Hopkins that originally I was skeptical of Twitter. His links that he posted, however, provided some great ideas for using the technology. It can be used as a tool for continuing class discussion outside of school and as a tool to remind students about upcoming due dates.

Back to the Drawing Board: The 5Js- Mr. Hopkins discusses a recent article written for eLearn Magazine by Mary Burns. The topic of the article is How to Help Teachers Use Technology in the Classroom. Ms. Burns identifies several problems in the methods we currently use to train teachers to use technology. She introduces the 5Js:
                    Job Related- training focused on uses in the classroom
                    Just Enough- emphasize comfort not proficiency
                    Just In Time- teachers are provided with skills as they need them
                    Just In Case- teachers need a plan B
                    Just Try It- instructors supply pressure and support to motivate teachers
I remarked that all of these together would make a very successful training program. My favorite idea was to allow teachers the time to attempt to fix their problems before relying on tech support.

Mr. Hopkins blog is a very useful resource for teachers that are interested in implementing different technologies in their classrooms. Each of his posts provide an in depth discussion of different methods that may become mainstream techniques in the next few years.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

C4K Summary #1

Adriana's Blog- Adriana is an 8th grader in Missouri. She has a twin sister and 3 other sisters. She likes to play basketball but the most important things in her life are her family and grades. Her favorite subject is math and one area she needs to work on is organization.

The first post I commented on was her Learning Manifesto. In her learning manifesto, Adriana makes several promises to herself. These promises are intended to maker her a better student. I thought that her promises were all appropriate and would indeed make her a better student.

My second comment was on the post that Adriana titled "All About Me". Adriana has a very interesting background. She has a large family with two of her sisters being younger than her. I mentioned that I wished I had a bigger family. I also told her that, from her blog posts, it seemed like she was a great example to her sisters.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Blog Post #6

The Networked Student- This video is a quick summary of how Connective Learning works, and how it can be implemented. I had never heard of Connective Learning before this video. My first impression is that it would be very effective. The reason for that, however, might have little to do with the method of teaching. This form requires a tremendous effort by the student. So the question is, given the same amount of effort in other teaching forms, could the student learn just as well. I think this would be an effective teaching style for  motivated students, but for those that are uninterested, it could be a liability. The teacher's job in this style is to provide direction. This limits the teacher's ability to focus instruction on students who are unmotivated, because the teacher is not the source of the information. This form would be great for teaching advanced courses because the student is not limited by their teacher's knowledge.

A Seventh Grader's Personal Learning Environment (PLE)- This video is a tour of a 7th grader's Personal Learning Environment. I like this style of instruction. She has been given the tools and resources to succeed in science along with the freedom and responsibility needed to achieve that success. I'm a proponent of giving students more responsibility. To me learning is more concrete when the student has real pride in their work. It's certainly hard to create this desire in all students, but, a P.L.E. is a good resource for  supporting this strategy. I also liked how all aspects of the students digital life are accessible on one page. I've strived to create this for myself and until now I thought the only way to attain this was to create my own webpage. This seems to be far simpler and more effective.

The Machine is Changing Us- I have to say that this was the most profound video I've seen yet. It's also the most difficult to respond to. In essence this video was about how the new media will use new forms of communication to shape our  society. The million dollar question The presenter provides great information on how our attitudes have changed through the years.
         -1960's I don't know. What do you think?
         -1990's Whatever. I don't care what you

The media we use has a great impact on our attitudes about life and community. Will the new media forms encourage each of us to take a greater interest in the future or will it encourage us to become more cynical. I think it depends on your beliefs and convictions. As with other tools, the media we use inflates our views. The concerned will have the information they seek. The hateful will have the anonymity they cherish. The involved will have the networking they require. The pessimistic will have the outlet they desire. I guess how media affects conversation will depend on who's talking...and who's listening.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Blog Post #5

The Benefits of Podcasting in the Classroom- I think podcasting has merit especially for middle school and older. Being able to provide the days lesson to students outside of the classroom, and at a time and place of their choosing is key. After completing my first podcast this past week, I would be open to trying it with my students. I like the potential podcasting has for inspiring creativity and I also like how it can improve students communication skills.

100 Ways to Use Your iPod- Much like it says, this is a list of 100 ways iPods can be used for educational purposes. It's amazing that such a relatively young technology like the iPod touch can have so many uses in today's classroom. I've said previously, though, that I think the iPad will be the tool of choice for schools (most apps are available on both iPod touch and iPad). The potential for the iPad is in its ability to hold multiple books, podcasts, and videos, as well as to network with each other and the teacher.

The Education Podcast Network- This is a list of a wide range of podcast topics available as a resource for teachers. I found it very organized and easy to use. Topics are arranged by grade or by subject. I think its great someone took the time to put these podcasts in order and it makes finding what you're looking for possible.

My biggest surprise while recording my own podcast was how easy it is to use. I can't speak for any other software, but, Garageband made podcasting simple to record and edit. The most important aspect of the podcast is the script. Research your topic, practice, then record. Simple.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Blog Post #4

Don't Teach Your Kids This Stuff. Please?- This item was written by Dr. Scott Mcleod. He is an associate professor at Iowas State University in the Educational Administration Program. He wrote this satire in order to point out all of the things kids will miss out on if they aren't exposed to technology.

I agree with the most of what he is saying. I disagree on how he seems to marginalize some of technologies real danger. For example, it's easy for me as someone who knows how to maneuver on the web, to end up where I want to be. Someone who is new to the net, on the other hand, can end up somewhere they wish they weren't and with malware they didn't want. This is a real danger to novices. With the appropriate guidance from someone knowledgeable students can be taught how to search safely. And I agree with him that it is important that they learn how to use this technology.

I think that rather than address his post to everyone involved with the students education, he should have targeted those that are technologically literate. (Disclaimer: I'm sure Dr. Mcleod's purpose was to show that the benefits outweigh the costs on some level.)

The iSchool Initiative- A video by a high school student giving his ideas on how to fix the public education system in the U.S. Hw introduces the iSchool, which is an itouch with applications that will take the place of books, notebooks, pencils, etc. in the classroom. The apps that I think could be adopted seamlessly today, and provide utility, are the notes, the calendar, recorder, and scientific calculator. iHomework looks pormising but I don't know enough about it.
It seems like the iPad would be a more appropriate device for this. The larger screen is more appropriate, especially for reading textbooks. I think this is a great idea though, and I won't be surprised to see this transition occur quickly. In order for that to happen, though, higher education has to take the lead. Then once public school systems see the benefit, they'll be more willing to make the switch.

The Lost Generation- WOW! Great video! I'm a proud part of Generation Y and I do believe that our generation will do great things. The things that I find important are not the same things that my parents find important. I think its ignorant when people say that we are "overparented" and more appropriate to say that our parents were "underparented". This recession is a godd example of that! I believe we will discover what truly makes us happy, and it won't have anything to do with money. I'm not sure why AARP made this video, but, I'm glad they did.

Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir- It's as amazing to me that someone could organize and set up this performance as the performance itself is. The technology that went into allowing this amalgamation of people to perform as a choir, and my ability to watch it anytime any place is mindboggling. If you look deeper, the music was only a small part of this performance, and the beauty lies in its implications. This video is proof that students from different backgrounds and locations can be taught in a digital classroom, and it can be a seamless experience.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Additional Assignment #1

Pitcairn Island Map
In this assignment we were required to experiment with two search engines that attempt to make a database or matrix using your search results.

I am new to both Google Squared and WolframAlpha, so I did a little investigating. Google Squared seems to be the preferred engine because it uses all of the information available on the internet to create the matrix. WolframAlpha, on the other hand, has an internal 10 terabyte database that it searches to find the data your looking for. Since 10 terabytes is only a fraction of the available data, we can assume that searches will be more accurate with Google Squared.

I can see both of these searches being useful in the classroom. Both engines present the data in an easy to read format, and both returned fairly similar results. I can see a class beginning their search with WolframAlpha due to the layout of its results, then, using Google Squared to search for more specific data.

Glancing back at my previous Did You Know Review, I have to say that my thoughts remain unchanged. I didn't have a particularly long review to begin with because I typically am fairly non reactive to statistics. Having had two business statistics and one market research class I realize how customizable statistics can be.

The Stable Boy and the IPad- The greatest part of this story is that it's true. As the proud owner of a new Macbook Pro, I have to say that it is just really easy to use. That's the genius behind any great tool, and a computer is after all just a tool. It's the reason why any kid who spends even a little time using one can master it.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

C4T Summary #1

Keeping Kids First- This is a blog by Kelly Hines, a fourth grade teacher in Washington, NC.

Mrs. Hines first post that I reviewed examined the relationship between locals and tourists in relation to the web. She compares locals and tourists from her hometown on the beach, to locals and tourists on the web. I agreed with her analogy and offered a recent experience of my own to support her comparison.

In her next post, Mrs. Hines contemplates the importance that blogging plays in her career. She states the importance of putting her reflections into a tangible context, so that she can "better herself as a reflective teacher". She also sees the importance of sharing her experience with others so that they can learn from her experience or share their own. Again I agreed with Mrs. Hines. Though I have nowhere near the experience that she has, I've begun to utilize this blog for the same purpose. The blog provides a medium in which to organize your thoughts in a way that others may also understand them. This leads to a greater contemplation of your own thoughts.

I found Mrs. Hines blog to be very insightful. Her experiences as a teacher and blogger support everything that I am learning in EDM310.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Blog Post #3

A Vision of Students Today- The facts in this video describe the average college experience. Apparently my experience was about average. The issue that is stressed in this video is the rigidity of our education systems. I agree that they are rigid, but, I'm not sure that that's a bad thing. As someone with an interest in Economics, I find it mind boggling that our schools would not evolve if there was an incentive to do so. This means that either they are prevented from evolving, or, there is not enough incentive for them to do so. In either case, if the incentive is great enough, change will occur. It could be that with the rapid development of technology, the framework and the catalyst for more interactive learning is just being realized.

It's Not About the Technology- Mrs. Hines points out that recent attempts to upgrade our classrooms are putting the proverbial cart before the horse. If we are going to modernize our classrooms we have to start with teachers. Investing money into cutting edge products will not revolutionize the way our kids learn. Teachers have to be willing to learn and utilize new technologies.

Is It Okay to be a Technologically Illiterate Teacher- Mr. Fisch blogs about the need for each teacher to be technologically literate. I guess the only thing I disagree with is to what extent. What should a fifth grade math teacher know how to do on a computer? Use spreadsheets and word documents I would think would be the minimum. Is it acceptable for someone who specializes in teaching biology to not be able to upload a clip on youtube? This discussion interests me. I know a good deal about computers but I'm not sure what I would expect fellow teachers to know about them.

Social Media Counter- The Social Media Counter is an amazing device for putting technological growth into numbers. It's amazing to think about how much information will be available to us through blogs and other nontraditional means (Facebook, Twitter, Flickr). What will the classroom of the future teach, that can't be found using a simple google search? Who can students meet in school that they couldn't be more familiar with by friending on Facebook? (It's funny that both "friending" and "Facebook" fail this blogs spell-check) Will there be a place for traditional field trips or will we simply Skype the San Fransisco Zoo?

I know this post has more questions than answers. Hopefully, I can begin to resolve them as I get deeper into this class.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Blog Post #2

Did You Know-This is a video with different statistics about how rapidly the world as we know it is changing. I personally have never been afraid of change (frustrated maybe). This video introduces an interesting concept though.
How do I, as a prospective teacher, prepare myself to teach in a future that is so uncertain. Part of the answer is probably EDM310. If 1 out of 8 couples married in the U.S. last year were able to meet online; then it seems likely that educators are also capable of meeting and sharing (less personal) ideas online. How? Through blogs just like this.

Mr. Winkle Wakes- My first thought, after watching this video, was confusion. Obviously, I wasn't confused by the theme of the video. I said to myself "if this is the way the world has changed, and our education system hasn't evolved, how do we make it through a work day productively?". I guess that answer is unique to each person. I personally don't remember many facts from grade school. But, one thing I did retain was how to learn.

Schools Kill Creativity- An interesting video from Sir Ken Robinson detailing the affects our schools have on children's creativity. I can't say I disagree with anything he's saying. My limited arts training during my school career was quite sad. Am I a less well rounded person because of it? Probably. It's pretty obvious how much merit the arts have in our schools. What is the first thing to go when the budget gets cut? The Arts. What is the last thing to be refunded? The Arts. Our schools are designed to produce Engineers not Artists. We want our children to make money and live comfortably because that is the root of happiness. Or is it?

Harnessing Digital Smarts- This teacher has made the transition to teaching new technologies. I can't say I never had access to high quality computer labs. The biggest problem that we had was finding a teacher who knew how to use them. Our schools today, employ people to technology positions that know less about computers than the kids do. Maybe my generation will be the first to be truly comfortable with technology. We'll challenge kids to learn more while still being in control of what their learning. I believe the desire to keep children on the cutting edge of technology is there. Right now, though, the ability is lagging.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Blog #1

Hello fellow bloggers, my name is Mitch Pouliot. This is my first semester back at the University of South Alabama since graduating in 2008. I currently have a Business Administration and I'm working towards a B.S. in Secondary Education with a minor in Economics. My ultimate goal is to teach economics, government, and business ethics to high school students.

Patrick and Sophia
I have a wonderful wife and two children. Patrick is 6 years old and Sophia is 21 months (pictured). Patrick is having a great year in first grade and loves his teacher. Sophia is also doing well in daycare but she seems to be taking credit for her teacher's work. Mary Alice is a first grade teacher at Patrick's school.

When I'm not working and studying, which is rare, I enjoy watching football. My wife and I, along with my mother and sometimes Patrick, attend USA football games at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. I'm also a member of the Sacred Heart Catholic Student Center across from the Mitchell Center. Mary Alice and I were actually the first couple to be married there. Previously, I worked for a local church as their youth minister for high school students. It was a great experience for an aspiring teacher and I hope to draw on those lessons often.