Sunday, October 26, 2014

C4K Summary October

C4K #4
     For C4K #4 I was assigned Ishita whose post was titled The Band Geek and was a short book review, and her review ended in  the book's recommendation.  I commented that Ishita had done quite a good job in summarizing and giving her opinions in regards to the book itself.

C4K #5
     For this commenting session I was given Sophie who had written a post title The 14th Goldfish, which I will not lie was a tad confusing.  The post itself had no relationship to a goldfish but was instead a story about Sophie's grandparents.  However, the story was well crafted, and her grandparents seemed like lovely people.

C4K #6
     This iteration of C4K had me commenting on a young man named Ryan's blog whose latest post was called Baseball.  In summary the post was an interesting story about the final climactic moments of a baseball game, and I was quite amazed at this young man's ability to craft an engaging narrative.

C4K #7
     In my latest C4K, I visited Alizhay's blog and commented on her post titled Music.  Her post was short but detailed and focused on a project that she had recently completed with a classmate.  The project itself was her crafting musical notes out of modeling clay, and there was a picture included denoting their fantastic work.

     All in all, I'd say that it was quite the interesting session of Comments 4 Kids.

Blog Post #10

     I would like to start off this post by citing  the videos that were integral to answering this post's driving question.  In order to answer said question, I viewed First Grader's in Mrs. Cassidy's ClassCassidy 13 Part 1Cassidy 13 Part 2, and Cassidy 13 Part 3.
     It is quite obvious that Mrs. Cassidy has much to teach in regards to the realm of using technology in an efficient and innovative manner as an educational tool.  Frankly I was quite astounded at more than a few of her ideas as well as her zest for solving the intricate puzzle that is the application of technology to teaching.  Her use of both the more "traditional" technologies such as blogs and internet research and the non sequitur practices such as the use of the Nintendo DS to teach sharing and puzzle solving were quite evocative.  I will strive to bring this out-of-the-box style of thinking to my classroom, and I might just try to use some of her ideas in my future classroom.  I'll have to give some thought to the Nintendo DS idea, but I do believe that Mrs. Cassidy is indeed on to something.
     Now in regards to the advantages of this style of teaching, I can see many, but I do believe that the most prominent advantage would most definitely be the grip that one would have on a student's attention.  Many students are bored with today's stodgy educational structure, which leads to them gaining nothing in terms of education due to their lack of attention.  Therefore, I believe that this type of teaching would result in greater educational yield by keeping the students invested in the learning process.  However, this in turn leads me to address the only major concern that I have about this type of teaching style, which is the what I call the "fun paradox".  What I mean by "fun paradox" is that yes surely education should be fun and intriguing, but at the same time one must make sure that a student keeps using the wonderful tool of technology for play as well as education.  In reality though, this must be addressed on the level of the individual and is unavoidable.  Also, this problem is not so different from that of a child doodling if one were to think about it.
     In closing, I would like to leave you all with a picture of what is known as the Hedge, or the realm that lies between the realms of faerie and mortals in Celtic mythology.  My reasoning for this can be viewed as a metaphor for the growing use of technology within the classroom.  This technology can propel us forward into a beautiful world full of new possibilities, but this new world can also be fraught with danger and should be treated with respect similar to how the Hedge may lead you to a beautiful if not dangerous realm.  Without further ado, I present a photo titled Into the Hedge by ladyrheena.

A photo of a young woman walking into the Hedge

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Blog Post #9

     After having read the article Seven Essentials for Project Based Learning and watching the video Project-Based Learning for Teachers, I can say that much can be taken away from how these teachers instituted project-based learning (PBL).  The main purpose of the article was of course to familiarize the readers with the essential characteristics of PBL, which are stated as follows:

1. A Need to Know: The students need to be engaged from the start, possibly with an "entry event" such as a video or guest speaker.  This beginning needs to arouse the students' thirst for knowledge pertaining to the project.

2. A Driving Question: This is where the motive or objective of the project needs to be stated in a clear and concise manner.

3. Student Voice and Choice: A PBL lesson should allow the students creative license in their learning process, and it is the job of the instructor to construct a lesson that affords the students this freedom without sacrifice to the validity of the lesson.

4. 21st Century Skills: The project should cause the students to develop and become further familiar with skill sets that they will benefit from in the future, such as communication, collaboration, familiarity with technology, public speaking, etc.

5. Inquiry and Innovation: The students should be allowed to perform meaningful research in order to fully answer their driving question.  This will no doubt lead to other questions being raised during the process however and should be encouraged.  A student will be more involved if they feel that their work is meaningful.

6. Feedback and Revision: During this step of PBL, the students will judge each other's work and provide worthwhile feedback that will allow for the fine tuning of the students' work.

7. A Publicly Presented Product: This portion of PBL is important as students will normally take more pride in the work that they produce if it is produced for an audience other than the teacher or the classroom.

     Where the article gave an overview of the quintessential PBL layout, the mandatory video listed further specifications of what PBL is as well as what this style of learning can accomplish.  The video also listed examples of driving questions as well as potential lesson ideas for teachers looking to try PBL.

     For my next three informational components, I chose Project-Based Learning and Physical EducationPBL - High School Math, and What Motivates Students?.  The first was an interesting blog article that gave an example PBL lesson plan dealing with physical education in which the students created a physical education program for middle school students.  The article detailed their process through all seven of the PBL characteristics as well as the probable results during each of the steps.  The second was a video, which I thoroughly enjoyed, gave an in depth look at the application of PBL in both math and language arts.  Both of these subjects are usually considered too difficult to apply PBL learning to and for this reason are normally left alone.  The final video dealt with the application of rewards to children in the 21st century.  As could be clearly seen in the video, the days of candy as a viable reward are behind us, but it appears that the age old method of positive feedback on a job well done is still quite effective.  Also, inventive rewards such as walks outside and something as simple as an interesting fact can be used effectively as incentives.

     All in all, I would say that the main idea taken away from all of these videos is that PBL can be applied to any subject if one were to try hard enough.  For example, I believe that their solution to the application of PBL to both language arts and mathematics was quite elegant and interesting.

     In honor of PBL's ability to breed learners that think outside and beyond the box, I have posted a picture of an 18th century painting titled Theseus Victor of the Minotaur by Charles Edouard Chaise.

Painting of Theseus and the Minotaur titled Theseus Victor of the Minotaur

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Blog Post #8

    Randy Pausch brought up many valid ideas that apply to both teaching and learning in his video Randy Pausch's Last Lecture.  First, I will discuss how I believe that his ideas apply to teaching.  I wholeheartedly agree with his assertion of "not knowing when to set the bar", and I felt that his response to the class that fully exceeded his expectations was fully one of both tact and grace.  He also discusses at some length what he calls a "head fake", and from what I can gather, he is referring to a type of hidden education wherein you are playing a game or participating in some form of entertaining activity that is actually teaching you.  This within itself is the core theory of gamifying education, which I fully support and believe in, and I am quite sure that there are many other aspects of Mr. Pausch's lecture that apply to teaching as these were merely the main aspects that I picked up.

     Mr. Pausch also lists many aspects that are quite valuable to a learner.  My personal favorite chunk of wisdom was his explanation of brick walls.  The idea that obstacles only exist in this road that we call life to strengthen us and truly test our dedication to our dreams is one that I have prescribed to for my whole life.  Another interesting bit was his secret to success as a healthy work ethic will carry you quite far in life, and being truthful and honest is the quickest way to surround yourself with friends that will propel you forward on your path to success.  All in all, I believe that Mr. Pausch did not go silently into the night.  He went out like a super nova.

     In honor of Mr. Pausch, I have posted a picture of the battle of Thermopylae by Jacques-Louis David, a battle where many faced the odds and achieved the unthinkable while laughing in the face of death.

A painting by Jacques-Louis David.

Project #9 Topic #5

     The following links lead to my group's Project #9 round table discussion.  Please enjoy.

Google Slides Version: TT2 Group #1's Project 9

YouTube Version

Implications and Teaching Opportunities for Camera Use in Teaching and Learning.

Part A

     With the advent of the smart phone, the ability to research and discover has been made handheld and lightning fast.  This revelation has forever changed the role of a teacher from fountain of knowledge to that of research coach and guide.  As a future educator, I understand that children are fully capable of answering virtually any question with a few keystrokes, but as a teacher, it will be my responsibility to mold these students into free-thinkers and self-motivated learners.  They were born into a world in which the tools are readily available, and it is our job to instruct them in their proper uses.

     This exponential increase in the computing power of phones and handheld devices has led to many schools acknowledging this fact and beginning to create curriculum based around this technology.  Many teachers and schools have embraced the use of blogs for classroom discussion as well as the use for iPads in lieu of textbooks.  This new use of technology has encouraged many young learners to embrace education because it is both entertaining and challenging.  If this new technological ideology is followed, then I have no doubt that a new generation of self-propelled learners will come to the forefront.

Part B

     As follows is a list of ideas for lessons to be taught given that all of the involved students are in possession of a smartphone or tablet with a camera:

  • Assign the specific reading material in .pdf form so that they may read it using their smartphone or tablet.
  • Hold a classroom discussion using Padlet in order for the children to formulate their ideas about the written work and then address them with the class as a whole. (RST.11-12.2)
  • Have the students create a video of their interpretation of the events within a novel that would then be shown to the class. (11-12.RST.2)
  • Have the children divide into groups and record a group discussion critiquing a written work and then play them for the class.

C4T #2 Summary

     My second C4T involved Mrs. Julie Greller's blog A Media Specialist's Guide to the Internet.  The first post that I commented upon was Books to Read to Kindergartners, and the post detailed a large amount of lists that in turn produced hundreds of age appropriate reading material.  I felt that this post was quite interesting as any kindergarten teacher would be able to fill their bookshelf by merely using four or five of the lists.  The comment that I left praised her for the compilation of these lists and suggested the addition of all of C.S. Lewis' Narnia series as well as Brain Jacques' Redwall series.

     The second post was one entitled 14 Sites About the Salem Witch Trials, and as the title implies, it listed fourteen sites that gave factual information about the Salem witch trials.  This post could be of great use to a history teacher looking to collect research for a lesson or even a student looking for trusted information to base a report on.  I found it quite impressive that Mrs. Greller took the time to compile such a comprehensive list of professional and vetted sources.  My comment that I left on the post was one that discussed my appreciation for her dedicated work and my own interest in the Salem witch trials.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Project #7 Part B

     Hello all, here listed below are my two videos for Project #7 Part B. Please enjoy.

For Class

For Parents

Lesson Plan Project

     Here is my groups Lesson Plan presented on a website made with Google Sites.  We are TT2 Group #1 in EDM310 at the University of South Alabama.

Lesson Plan Project

Blog Post #7

     While analyzing myself and my understanding of the uses of technology in the field of education, I could not determine any true weaknesses.  I feel that I am quite well rounded in the sense of learning how to operate and apply new technologies be they simply new forms of media transfer or wholly new systems.  I believe I have this proclivity due to the nature of my upbringing as my parents felt it necessary that I learn to type and operate a computer at a young age.  Due to this early and frequent access to technology, I am able to adapt quickly to any variation of digital device.
     I found the videos quite interesting as they mostly addressed the various new methods of digital information transfer.  Personally, I found the How To Make An Audio QRCode. video to be the most interesting as I have always been interested in the use of QR codes and their potential.  The idea of using captured audio to reinforce a child's reading in such a way is quite innovative.  Mrs. Ginger Tuck and Mrs. Shirley both do a fantastic job of illustrating the various uses of iPads for the lower grade levels in iPad Reading CenterPoplet With Ginger TuckAVL and Kindergarten Students, and Tammy Shirley Discovery Education Board Builder Moon Project.  Of course, Mrs. Tassin's students prove their mettle in Mrs. Tassin 2nd Grade students share Board Builder Project and Mrs. Tassin students share Board Builder Project by presenting the Board Builder projects that they were able to create using their iPads.  Then the conversational videos Using iMovie and the Alabama Virtual Library in Kindergarten and We All Become Learners bring the various successes of young students with these programs to the forefront.
     All in all, I would say that the up and coming generation as a whole will no doubt have a familiarity with technology.  This however does not discount my age group who grew with the advancement of the digital age as opposed to being born with it already  readily available.  Growth and innovation do not leave anyone behind, but some people just choose not to participate.  In recognition of this my picture is that of a clock to symbolize the eternal march of time.

A photograph of an ornate clock.