Sunday, May 5, 2013

Blog Post #15 - Final Reflection

As I was preparing for this assignment and reading over my initial post about my future classrooms, I was happy to realize that I want to change nothing I wrote at the beginning of the semester. There are, however, plenty of things I would like to add.

I still want to teach middle school English before I move up to a high school or college level. My focus is still on creativity, innovation, and “real” learning. I mention that I would like to incorporate technology as often as possible, and this only became more true. I will definitely create a class blog and let my students use it to showcase their work, and to network and collaborate with others. I hope to use WikiSpaces for research on specific topics, and plan to make use of the many educational tools available. Why not let my students build their own worksheets, games, and study guides?

There have been multiple teaching methods introduced to me throughout the semester, and I'm having a hard time deciding which would be best. I will probably take a lesson from each method, and come up with something more personal and individualized. I am also really looking forward to trying out Edmodo. There is something about virtual classrooms that I adore. I can only hope that it will work out as well as I want, and I am teaching at a school where I will be allowed to use technology as I see fit.

That’s pretty much all I have to add to my first blog post. I feel I only needed to be more specific about which tools and methods I am most likely to try at first. So, with that being said and done, here is my final reflection about who I am, and have become over the semester:

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Project #13

My group, One and Done, consisted of myself, Lindsey Estes, Sally Jeter, and Angela Van Vliet. We have worked on three different projects over the semester and all of them have required us to use technology to collaborate. We mainly used email, group text messaging (we all have iPhones), and Google Docs. Email was mostly used for sending pictures or other documents, group texting was used mostly to set up times that we would meet and to iron out small details, and we used Google Docs to collectively write and correct each others blog posts, etc. These were really the only tools we needed to complete all of our projects together without having to meet in person. It was an amazing learning experience and I feel much more comfortable using technology to communicate with others now versus when I first started this class.

April C4K Summary

Brenna L

In her post, Brenna tells us all about Nebraska, her home state. She thinks it is a great place and provided us with many of the state symbols such as Nebraska’s state insect, fish, gemstone, soft drink, beverage, etc.

I told Brenna that she produced a well-written post that she should be proud of. I told her how interested I was in that and even done a bit of research about Alabama to find out some things about our state symbols. I ended by thanking her and telling her to keep up the good work.


In her post, Anneliese tells us about her Easter break. Anneliese first describes her day on Easter morning and how excited she was for Lindt chocolate. Yum! Then, she tells us that they visited Otway Fly Treetop Walk, which she included a picture of. She says that it was scary, and from the picture, I believe it. Last, she tells us about Scienceworks. She went into a mirror maze first, then went into the Sports area where she won a wheelchair race. She tells us that she wanted to do the running activity, but was sore from the wheelchair race. She ended her trip there by participating in an activity that allows you to see how high you can jump.

Anneliese’s post was stunning. She writes incredibly well to only be in the fourth grade. She has blown some of my classmates out of the water even. I conveyed this message to her (minus the last part) and told her that I couldn’t wait to see what else she posted. I thanked her graciously and told her to keep up the good work.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Project # 9: Final PLN Report

I have added many more blogs and websites since my first progress report. I have added all blogs that I have been assigned, as well as many others I have stumbled across throughout the semester. I’m almost out of tile spaces on my home mix in Symbaloo, but I can add many more and even start a new one need be.

There are also many WebMix collections that have been previously designed. This is great because they range from general education tools and become more specific to grade and subject. I’ve kept these collections of webpages and tools for future reference (maybe I can share them with co-workers). They also have a lot of nifty web sites that I have been “stealing” as I have time to check them out. A lot of times I will just leave the tiles where they are, but still visit them regularly.

Also, I’m not sure if it counts, but I added an Education interest to my StumbleUpon account, and have ran across some really awesome stuff.

Friday, April 26, 2013

C4T #4

Amanda Ooten’s Science Teaching for the Future

This blog contains many interesting and useful things; however, I was disappointed to see that I was assigned a blog that hasn’t been updated in over year. Amanda Ooten teaches AP and Honors Biology, as well as PLTW’s, at a high school in Ohio.

Comment #1

My first comment was on Mrs. Ooten’s blog Odds & Ends Update. This was a fairly short posted but addressed many topics in a very concise manner. She apologized for having took so long to create a new post and moves into what has been going on with her now flipped classroom, technology at her school, her AP Biology class. She also included a YouTube section that advises against using any images from a textbook. Pearson contacted her about copyright infringement because of the images used in videos that she made. She had to remove the videos from the web, but plans to appeal the decision.

I told Mrs. Ooten that I enjoyed reading her post. I thanked her for sharing the tip about the YouTube, as it’s a mistake I was likely to make. I stated that I was very excited to begin teaching in a technology friendly environment and hoped to hear more about her experiences.

Comment #2

In her post, My Flipped Classroom, part 1, Ooten describes her experiences so far with her newly flipped classroom. My favorite thing that she points put in this post is that her freshman class did much better than her senior class when it came to answering critical thinking questions. She says that her seniors immediately began flipping through their texts looking for exact answers, and attributes this to these students having 3 years of teachers that operated in this “burp-back” manner.

I told her that this article was extremely helpful for new teachers that are interested in flipping their classrooms. I thanked her for sharing the articles on “teaching naked”, which were very insightful, and also mentioned her list of blogs that she follows (mentioned in her very first post) was very helpful to me. I ended by saying that I hoped for an update soon.

Project #15 SmartBoard Instruction part 2

Blog Post # 14

Teacher Knows if You Have Done the E-Reading

This was a very interesting article. It outlines the ways in which CourseSmart is allowing educators to see how students use their textbooks. They can view an “engagement index” to see how and how often the students are using their textbooks to study. This provides them with better information about how well their students are doing. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how well students do on a test; it doesn’t necessarily mean that they have fully grasped the concept, but rather may have just memorized the material long enough to complete the test. The article points out that because many courses are entirely virtual this is a way to have an idea of who is at risk sooner.

As a teacher, I think this would be great. If i do happen to have a student that is falling behind, I will be able to look and decide if it is because they are not studying or just need some extra help. I would also be able to see if it were just a few students struggling or if the whole class was falling behind. I can decide if I need to spend extra with some students or completely rethink the way I am teaching the lesson.

As a student, I am not fond of the idea. While it doesn’t appear to be anything too intrusive, I just don’t feel comfortable with it. I think my biggest concern is what my teacher would do with the information and whether or not it would cause them to make predetermined judgements. There have been many classes I have taken in which I never used my textbook at all, yet still done very well in the course and actually learned a lot. Instead of the textbook, I payed attention to lecture, took notes, and researched various other sources. It is very likely that my engagement index would be low, but only as it pertains to the textbook. I would actually be very engaged just in a different manner. It would be unfair for me if this were to be incorporated as a participation grade.

If I were to speak with the teacher, I would ask:
What do you plan to do with the information you receive? Have you found the data to be accurate and fair? Will you incorporate this as a participation grade?

If I were to speak with the students, I would ask:
Do you benefit from this data? Does your teacher show it to you even when you do not have a low score? Do you often leave your book open or highlight random parts to attempt to increase your score? Or do you actually study the textbook? If you do actually study the textbook, is it because you feel more pressured to do so?

If I were to leave a comment, I would say:
I agree that this has many flaws and discrepancies; however, I do think it will have some use. I don’t agree with the “Big Brother” aspect, but I understand why some teachers would want to use it. Especially if this use is for research purposes, or to develop better lesson plans. Personally, I may want to try to teach so well that all of my students have a low score when it comes to the textbook. I want them to engage with me, classmates, and others through technology, not be stuck alone skimming through a book they will only feel the need to memorize. Also, I think at college levels it is unnecessary to hound students about their grades. At this point in our lives, we should be responsible for our own work and grades. Students should be graded on they’re knowledge of the material, not how often and how serious they took the textbook.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Progress Report On Final Project

Our final project is mostly fill-in-the-blank at this point. One & Done has been an amazing group to work with over the semester. We were all very lucky to be grouped with like-minded, supportive members. We have stayed in close contact throughout the process of all of our projects over the semester and the final project is no different. We are really excited to use iBook for the first time. We mostly communicate through group text messages since we all have iPhones, but we often use Google Docs, and some emailing as well. We are off to a great start, ahead of schedule. I’m sure we will finish with plenty of time and a great project.

Blog Post #13

Mr. Crosby's Back To The Future

Mr. Crosby is an amazing teacher. You can tell that his concerns are for his students, not the grades the are making. Crosby has taught the same class for three years. He points out that when these children first came to him, many of them could not answer questions as simple as what city, state, and country they live in. He didn’t give up on them or conjure predetermined judgements. Instead, Mr. Crosby took them on a journey full of knowledge; he taught them in a practical manner that they understood and was genuinely interested in.

It was so nice to hear that Mr. Crosby refused to not teach a student that wasn’t able to physically come to class. His student Celeste had leukemia and because of her immune system was unable to attend. He didn’t let this stop him though; he started using technology to bring Celeste to class over the computer. She was able to be there to learn and interact with her teacher and classmates without compromising her health. This was amazing to see, and I can only applaud him for his efforts as a teacher.

I love the part of the video where he states that education shouldn’t be treated as a race. He’s right. Students should be encouraged to take their time and learn as much as they can. Many problems that our children face these days are because of rushing. They are too quick to grow up (physically), and too quick to give up on the things they don’t accomplish right away. A good grade in a class, or a degree from college or high school, is not nearly as important as the knowledge that those symbols are supposed to represent.

Paul Anderson's Blended Learning Cycle

In his video, Blended Learning Cycle, Paul Anderson explains how he focused his class on the students to create a better learning experience. He describes his method of “QUIVERS”, which is a very interesting and useful concept. These are the steps that Mr. Anderson takes:

QUESTION - He starts each unit with a question that “hooks” his students to get them interested.

INVESTIGATION - This is where they begin to explore and learn about the question. Anderson encourages them to come up with questions of their own.

VIDEO - Anderson uses video to give students information to begin researching.

ELABORATION - Students actively research the material and learn through this step.

REVIEW - Anderson works with small groups to discuss the material with his students in order to make sure the are grasping the concepts.

SUMMARY QUIZ - Students take a short quiz on the things covered in each section, which is followed by longer unit exams.

This is a great way to approach teaching. Anderson explains that this method is easily utilized in a science classroom, and I think it would work well in almost any subject. Everything can be slightly subverted to meet needs or improve. My area of education will be in English; this may be a bit harder to introduce, but I think after finding a way to present a question that will capture my student’s attention, it will work well. My favorite thing about flipped classrooms is that it doesn’t have near as much boring lecture time. I plan to implement this idea, along with many others, into my classroom.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Blog Post #12

My assignment idea needed to be specific for Secondary English/Language Arts. I’m sure I have said many times now that I love group activities. This was a major deciding factor for me, but I also love the creative aspect of writing. My decision for this assignment was based off an activity that an English teacher had our class do in middle school. Tandem Stories. So. Much. Fun. I have put a technological spin on the idea to create this assignment, and enlisted a friend of mine to help me complete it. So, here’s the assignment (given that pairs have already been chosen, and I have already addressed how to use Google Docs):

You and your partner will collaborate to write a tandem story. You will use a Google Doc to complete this simple process. Choose amongst yourselves who will start; this person will begin by writing one paragraph. Then, the next person will continue the story with another paragraph and so on until you have reached a conclusion. Be sure to share your Google Doc with me as well.

You have no assigned topics and have the freedom to take the story anywhere you see fit. Use your creativity and have fun. Be sure to read through the story as you continue taking turns with paragraphs. The story needs to make sense! Beware of contradictions. You will have to work together if you want something good to come of it. Please limit any vulgar language and do not direct it at each other.

With that being said and done, here is what my friend Andre and I came up with when we completed the assignment:


A weary man wanders in the pouring rain. He is tall, broad,  and wears an expensive gray suit now drenched from tonight’s sudden storm. His footsteps splash against the cold ground as he swaggers down the center yellow line of the seemingly endless street. Although tall glass-encased buildings filled the city and reflected the brilliance of the solar-powered streetlights, the city is lifeless. No cars. No people occupying the sprawling downtown area. There are only two living beings here; this man and the rain. His eyes are wide with determination despite the diabolical downpour. A flash of lightening and a clash of thunder echo through the overwhelming structures, but he does not flinch. He is a man on a mission.


“Where are you going, Darius?”

“We’ve been over this already. I’m going to the top of the Moontower, now could you please stop talking?”

Darius opened the map on his Pepboy3000 wrist computer. His destination was three miles away and he didn’t have a lot of time.

“You’re not going to make it, Darius.”

“Shut up, Rain. You’re not helping. I really should have worn better shoes.”


It had been 10 years since his discharge from the military. His career choice wasn’t a surprise to anyone that knew him. Darius Barrow was a strong, handsome man ripened to the age of 35. His years spent in the military provided him with all the experience and recommendation he needed to pursue a career in private security. A man with his merits and knowledge was handsomely paid in such an industry. Pscilla Corp, a globally dominating company, recruited him specifically and they paid triple for his services.

Over the last 8 years, he has undertaken a variety of jobs assigned to him. Each progressed in difficulty and always required a higher security clearance. This mission, however, would be the one that tested all of his skills. This was the first time that details were not explicitly laid out for him. He had no idea what to expect when he reached his destination. Why were the leaders of Pscilla suddenly being so secretive with him? As hard as he tried to fight it, Darius couldn’t shake the ominous feeling that had settled into the pit of his stomach.


The rain continued to pour down as the Moontower came into view. Lightning struck and Darius could nearly see every detail on the massive tower. The Moontower was by far the tallest and most extravagant building in the world. It was a spire shaped building that towered over the Earth below and seemed to nearly reach the Moon. Normally the building would illuminate the night sky, but tonight was unlike other nights.

“You had better hurry, Darius.”

“Be quiet! I’m trying to think!”

“I’m sure all your questions will be answered when you learn the details of your mission.”



The tower loomed over him intensifying the eerie sensation he had felt earlier. His checkpoint was a room located at the very top of the tower. He was told further instruction would be found there. Would this finally explain why everyone was evacuated from the metropolis?

Darius scanned the building looking for an optimal point of entry. After running up a short, but extravagant set of steps, he was greeted by a magnificently overly-sized glass door, tempered so that you can see out of it, but not into the building. “The MoonTower” was simply, yet elegantly carved into the building just above the entrance. Darius took a breath, anxious, but ready to be relieved of the unforgiving weather, and walked towards the automatic doors.


The automatic glass door swung open as he approached the building and a grand lobby could be seen inside. Marble tiles and columns stretched across the floor and to the ceiling where magnificent crystal chandeliers hung and would normally be radiating light throughout the room. Darius stepped inside and was finally free of the rain. He cracked a smile and shook off the cold. Continuing on, he could see an attendant at a desk near the center of the lobby. He was a chubby, balding, sad mistake of a man.

“Hello there! You must be Mr. Barrow. We’ve been expecting you. Make your way to the elevator on the right. There’s no time to waste.”

Once inside the elevator, Darius input data concerning the building into his Pepboy. The information could potentially be of value during his mission. He looked at the display on the elevator console and then sat on the floor.

“Its times like these, when you’re on an elevator ride to the moon, when you really appreciate the video games on a Pepboy.”


The seemingly normal, professional tone of the attendant did little to ease Darius. He continued to absent-mindedly toy with his Pepboy as the elevator rose higher and higher up the tower. The games did little to distract him from the task at hand, but this had long since been a calming technique. Many of the games he played, provided him with a way to practice strategic actions that he could use later during missions with a better understanding of how his targets may react. He thoroughly appreciated the many benefits of technology; it had saved his life on more than one occasion.

The elevator began to chime signaling that his floor was approaching. He stood preparing himself to finally be briefed.

The elevator suddenly instructed, “You have now arrived at floor 323, Research and Experimentation. Waiting for confirmation to open doors.”

Darius braced himself as the hydraulic doors hissed and then slid open.


A very well dressed man greeted Darius as he left the elevator, “Hello, Mr. Barrow. Its a pleasure to finally receive you. I’m sure you’re eager to learn the details of your assignment.”

“I am. Lets get right down to it, Mr?”

“You may address me as Commissioner.”

The Commissioner led Darius through a series of laboratories where various experiments were being conducted. Everyone worked diligently and seemed to be either unaffected or unaware of the emptiness of the city surrounding them.

“How is it that this building has power right now, Commissioner?”

He smiled and responded, “Well, we have an arc reactor in the base level of the facility.”

“You guy’s really do think of everything.”

“Yes, I suppose we do.”

After some time the two men finally arrive at a very ornate set of wooden double doors with an inscription reading “THE OVERSEER”. The Commissioner opened one side and ushered Darius inside. The room was dimly lit and a man could be seen standing behind a desk with his back facing his new guests.


The Commissioner instructed Darius to wait just by the doors as he crossed the lavish office. Darius eyed the men as he took in his surroundings and prepared a mental escape route, just in case; he was a cautious man. What did they want with him? And how was Pscilla Corp, his main employer, involved with them? He knew that Pscilla Corp invested in a wide and stunning array of industries all over the world. Pscilla Corp owned practically everything, including the government. From the quick and urgent whispers, he could tell this was a serious matter.

“Come join us Mr. Barrow,” requested the Overseer as he took his seat, gesturing for Darius to take one of the overstuffed chairs in front of his mahogany desk. Darius thanked him as he sat, glad to finally rest his aching legs and feet.

The Overseer was an aging man, but fit and healthy with a warm smile. His voice was deep and smooth considerably reducing Darius’ anxiousness.

“If you don’t mind,” continued the Overseer, “I would like to skip small talk and tell you why you have been sent to me. We are both aware that something very serious is happening. I am sure you will have other questions, but all I can tell you is that I have been assigned to you. I do not know what lies in the future of your mission after you leave here.”

Darius took a breath disappointed that he was no closer to finding out what his actual mission was. “Ok,” he said, “I understand. Why have I been sent to you then?”

The Commissioner and the Overseer exchanged glances, and with a very serious and low tone, the Overseer explained, “To put it simply Mr. Barrow, you are here for Battle Augmentation.”


“Excuse me sir, what do you mean by Battle Augmentation?”

“Battle Augmentation, Mr. Barrow, is what we call the product of our super-soldier program. It is a series of body modifications that will increase your mental and physical abilities exponentially. To be blunt, the procedure is very dangerous and the only reason you were considered for the trial is because of your outstanding military record.”

“I don’t suppose I have much of a say in this.”

“No you don’t. This procedure is critical for the success of your mission. I do apologize though because it will be extremely painful. Now, if you don’t mind, we need to proceed.”

Darius hung his head and let out a sigh. The three men then proceeded to a nearby laboratory where Darius would be prepared for surgery. A group of doctors took the liberty of removing his clothing and restrained him for the procedure.

One of the doctors spoke to Darius, “Unfortunately, we will not be able to administer any anesthetics during the procedure. You see, the side effects of doing so would certainly lead to your death. On the other hand, you could possibly live through the operation.” The doctor smiled and got back to his work.

A few minutes passed by and nothing unusual had happened. Suddenly, a group of men walked in the room followed by a series of very large robotic medical instruments. They all advanced toward Darius and immediately began the procedure. Darius’ flesh was torn into and body parts were replaced with synthetic augmentations. His screams echoed through the halls of the 323rd floor. Hours passed by before the operation was complete.


It wasn’t long before the effects of the procedure made themselves clear to Darius. He regained consciousness and began to scan his surroundings. He had been moved to a cozy recovery room. As he glanced around the warm beige walls and took in the sparse, but comfortable furniture, he realized even his eyesight was sharper than before. His mind was thinking much more quickly, and he felt healthier than he had in his 20s. Darius swung his legs off the bed and let his feet meet the cold, tiled floor. He sighed, stretched, and thought to himself, “What now? Where is everyone?”

Almost immediately, as if in reply to his thoughts, he heard, “Can you hear me now Darius?”

The sultry tone of the voice startled and intrigued him as he looked around and realized that it was only within his mind that he had heard it.

Darius replied in his thoughts, “What? Yes. What’s happening? Who are you?”

“I am Ariana, your Navigator. Part of the procedure was designed to augment certain brain structures that allow a soldier to connect with his Navigator telepathically.”

“Will you always be inside my head?”

“Until one of us is no longer alive.”

Darius tried to relax as he thought about what could make something like this necessary. Had he finally dug a hole that he couldn’t get out of? And how was this sensuous sounding woman supposed to help him with anything?

“I can always hear your thoughts Darius.” communicated Ariana, “You need me to complete this mission or you will die trying.”

Her certainty was a tangible thing. Despite his grim mood, she reached him with her quiet words.

***To Be Continued?

Sadly, we didn’t have time to continue the story further as it pertains to this post. We may have gotten a little too into the assignment, and I can only hope the same would happen with my students. This assignment teaches a variety of essential skills, and puts a fun and freer spin on what could have been a boring writing assignment.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

C4T #3

For C4T #3 I was assigned Mr. Will Richardson’s blog Read. Write. Connect. Learn. Will Richardson taught public school for 22 years, founded Powerful Learning Practice, and has had three books published as of August 2011.

Comment #1

My first comment was on Mr. Richardson’s blog post Announcing: Raising Modern Learners.

In this post, he announces that he and Bruce Dixon have launched a new undertaking called Raising Modern Learners. Richardson calls this a growing effort that he hopes will help teachers, administrators, and board members by sparking initiative about changes in the education system. They will post a blog dealing with one theme each week and try to implement (Google) Hangouts and podcasts, among other things, for parents.

I told Mr. Richardson that I thought this was an amazing endeavor. I told him that I believe parents play a more crucial role than most tend to realize. I asked him how far he anticipated this effort to reach, and told him that I hoped it would spread far and wide.

Comment #2

I read Mr. Richardson’s post Playing Chopsticks With Technology for my second comment.

In this post, Richardson posts a Q&A response from Alan Kay. Alan Kay is president of the Viewpoints Research Institute and also an Adjunct Professor of Computer Science at the University of Califonia, Los Angeles. His post points out the problems we face when trying to utilize technology into education. It is definitely a good read. I love that the post points out that “the music is not in the piano”. Regardless of what tools we use, we need to let students learn, imagine, and create.

I agreed with Mr. Richardson on his view of this, and shared my thoughts and goals as a future educator. I stated that because of standardized testing and fact memorization methods, we lose the ability/opportunity to allow freedom for actual learning.

March C4K Summary

C4K #5


Hudson’s blog post was a story he wrote. The story was titled Charlie and the Goblin. Hudson played off of many stories like the Three Billy Goats Gruff and Little Red Riding Hood, among others. His fairy tale was amazingly well written, especially considering that he is only in the 2nd grade!

I told Hudson that he had done an outstanding job. I asked if he planned to write anymore stories, because I would love to read them. I told him to keep up the good work and I looked forward to seeing what he posted next.

C4K #6


Jenna wrote a “character to self” summary for her blog post. In her post, she describes the book Hideout by Gordon Korman and how she is like the main character, Griffin.

I told Jenna that she had done a really good job on her post and that I had really liked that book also. I told her to keep up the good work and that I was excited to see what else she posted over the semester.

C4K #7


Harper’s blog post was about her mom. Harper says that her mom is so sweet and the best ever because she gives Harper kisses and tucks her in. They are about to move out of Grandma’s house and Harper will miss her vey much.

I told Harper hello, my name, and where I went to school. I told her that mom did sound very awesome and asked if she was excited about moving even though she would miss her grandmother. I told her that her blog was well-written and I was very impressed.

C4K #8


Jade’s blog post briefly described a story told to them by a Holocaust survivor. She also included the definition of holocaust in her post.

I told Jade having the opportunity to experience that talk was incredible. It is a very different hearing someone describe their story related to historical events versus only reading about it in a book.

Blog Post #11

Ms. Cassidy pointed out some very good tips in her video Little Kids.. Big Potential and also in her Skype Interview with Dr. Strange. She offers a stunning array of techniques, tips, and ideas.

I love that her student pointed out that he liked to blog because other people will see and comment on their posts. This really is a great way to showcase students’ work and will give them a sense of accomplishment and pride in their work. Having class web pages and blogs is a great way to get family involved. Many of us have family that live distantly. This is an incredibly convenient way for parents, family, and friends to see what the students’ are doing and how they are progressing over the year.

The students also point out how they use Wiki. I really like this and think it would help in an English class. Wiki would be a great way to have students research and understand literary works. Allowing students to create a Wiki and connect with others around the world may motivate them to be more involved in discussing and learning about elements of literature.

I think the biggest obstacle is funding. We have to have money to buy computers and we have to make sure that we have enough of them. I am big on group instruction, and that is how I plan to overcome funding issues, given that I have funding for at least a few computers. My students can take turns in groups either working on their blogs or working directly with me. This way every student will have access to computers and also have quality lesson time with me in a smaller group so that I can provide more individual instruction.

I would hope that through blogging and collaboration, my students will become interested and enlightened. I want them to imagine, create, innovate and learn. The benefits of blogging are outstanding if it is utilized correctly. My students should improve in many areas: written (and verbal) communication, organization, planning, collaboration, problem solving, etc.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Blog Post # 9

I chose Mr. McClung’s first edition of “What I’ve Learned This Year” because I thought it would be most beneficial to me as a new teacher. This, of course, is in addition to the required and latest version.

What I’ve Learned This Year (08-09)

In this post, Mr. McClung reflects on his first year teaching. I found this to be an incredibly nifty post. He starts out by discussing the way he lost touch with his class as he taught as lesson. His post describes him being so worried about his assessment from superiors that he forgot lessons should be student centered. He urges us to be flexible because no lesson plan is perfect, and also reasonable because as teachers we can hold very high expectations of our students. He stresses that our job is about picking our students back up after they fail and encouraging them to try again.

Another piece of advice was communication. He discusses communication regarding the workplace, as well as students. They best way to handle conflict at work is to simply talk things out. With fellow teachers, administration, and students it is imperative that we communicate. This is how we build rapport, develop strong, lasting relationships, and earn the respect and trust of our students. He also advocates technology as a friend. He even says we need it to be able to live in “our microwave society of today.”

He ends his post by encouraging us to never stop learning.

I loved this post. This is extremely beneficial to me because I have not went through my first year of teaching yet. It gave me a good idea of some problems that I am likely to encounter. I agree with everything he has to say. All of his advice is very pragmatic, and something that I will surely look back on.

What I Learned This Year - Volume 4

In this post, Mr. McClung addresses only two themes. The first, “You Gotta Dance With Who You Came To Dance With”, describes becoming overly concerned with the way that his fellow teachers perceived him. He tells us that after much reflection he came to realize that the way his peers view him is not that important. He tells us that throughout his career he has always followed one rule (or question); are the kids having fun? This couldn’t be more true. It is the children that we are here for. While it is important that we are pleasing our superiors and meeting all requirements set forth, the kids should always be our main focus.

The next theme he discusses is “Challenge Yourself”. Mr. McClung talks about how he had gotten comfortable in the school and subject he taught, which made the amount of creativity put into his lessons decline. He admits that he began to depend on old lessons and was not teaching well. He states that if we get too comfortable as teachers, we become lazy and our lesson plans become awful, which in turn makes our students suffer.

I am always looking for something new to try. I am the type of person that loves to be challenged and stay busy. I can truly understand what it is that Mr. McClung is saying here. I have had so many teachers that used lesson plans from an incredibly long time ago. Even though we have to cover the same standards year after year, we do not have to do it the same way over and over. Lessons should be subverted as needed to fit the needs of our students. I also really appreciated how honest he was with his flaws and failures as a teacher. Very enlightening.

I enjoyed reading these posts so much that I read the other two versions, and even followed and saved his blog to my Symbaloo. I was very excited for him when he announced, through an update, that he has been offered and accepted a position as an assistant principal. I’m sure only good things will come from his career advancement.

Project #12 - Jumanji Book Trailer

This was such an awesome project! Anthony Capps definitely deserves a thank you for the tutorial video. It was incredibly nifty! I plan to make more of these in my (currently nonexistent) spare time.

The only thing I had problems with (thanks to Anthony) was the music. My book trailer was just over a minute long, but my source music was only 46 seconds. I ended up solving this problem with a method I used to use to make ringtones in iTunes. I'm not sure of other ways to do this, but this was effective for me, and quick. A tutorial handling this problem wouldn't be a bad idea at all.

Project #9: PLN

PLN Progress Report

I love the idea of having a personal learning network (PLN). I am using Symbaloo to manage my network. The student from the video we watched, A 7th Graders PLE, used the same thing. I have Symbaloo set as my homepage. By doing this, anything that I want to access is simply a click away.

My PLN is definitely a work in progress. I am constantly adding new tiles to my webmix. I have already added social media tiles like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. These I use for both personal and professional purposes. Pandora is strictly personal, but I have to have music in order to function, so there it is! I use Diigo as a bookmarking tool. I like this one because you can highlight certain parts of the pages and add your own side notes as well.

I especially like to add blogs. I, of course, have the class blog, but I’ve also added any blogs that have been assigned and a few I have found on my own. I’ve also added a few pages like StorySpinner. I’ll add a list of them later when I post my final summary. Some of them are quite nifty. StorySpinner randomly selects a starting phrase, a setting, and four words to include. This will be great for short story exercises.

I am really excited about all the new and beneficial things I’m finding. Symbaloo is an awesome way to manage everything. I can wait to further develop my PLN.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Blog Post #8

This is How We Dream

In his two part video, This Is How We Dream, Dr. Miller describes how reading and writing has changed. We have moved from using paper and pens to using technology for virtual reading and writing. Miller is discussing the importance of creativity and collaboration., as well as how cheap and accessible books and information have become due to technology. In the second part of his video he describes visual representation and academic lectures that are available on the web. He also advocates openly and freely sharing ideas, while acknowledging the challenges in creating an educational system like the one he describes throughout his videos.

My favorite thing about the first part of his video is that he points how much we can do with a virtual workspace. We can research “the riches of the world as they are stored on the web.” We no longer are limited to local libraries. With the use of technology we can research sources from all over the world without ever leaving home, or having to make a special trip to the library. He goes on to describe the ways that we can use audio and images as well as text, and collaborate with others on projects. Because technology allows us to connect virtually over the web, we can collaborate with people all around the world.

In the second part, Miller says that we as educators must be in the business of sharing ideas freely. I couldn’t agree with him more. I love working on collaborative projects. When you have other people working with you, you have access to someone to bounce ideas around with. You can help one another improve aspects of the project.

Miller recognizes that there are many challenges to overcome if we are to create this type of educational system. He states openly that he can barely fathom the idea. Like Miller, I find this fascinating. Why wouldn’t we want to share and push ideas into our culture? It was amazing to see what people are already composing using the web itself. It is amazing that we can see the emotion of different geographical locations. I believe we are definitely well on our way to an exclusively technology based educational system.

Carly Pugh’s Blog Post #12

Carly’s post was absolutely amazing! Not only was the content significant but her writing style is fascinating. It’s unbelievably entertaining. Her assignment truly epitomizes Dr. Miller’s dream of writing with multimedia.

Had I been given this assignment in school, we would have pulled out a sheet of paper and numbered one through ten, answering each question in written form. Because Carly explicitly states that you should use videos to answer these questions, it takes pens and paper off the table, and replaces them with technology. Most of her assignment requires no text at all. Not only does this assignment make you think, it teaches research and technological skills, self-reflection, and planning among many others.

EDM310 for Dummies and The Chipper Video

“EDM 310 for Dummies” is a video that shows you how to be successful in EDM 310. The video starts out with two students who are going crazy because they are overwhelmed by this course. This video introduces the book, EDM 310 for Dummies, which features tutorials and information for all aspects of this class.

“The Chipper Series” was hilarious! I love satire! Chipper is lazy, unmotivated, and procrastinates way too much. This video points out that these are terrible habits and you should stay on top of classwork, meet all deadlines, and follow instructions. This video was really great because it really touches on the point that school is not a joke.

I think the primary message of the videos was that you should always do your best and seek help and guidance when you need it. With EDM310 in particular, help is always available. The only possible reason someone could have for failing this class is that they did not put forth the effort required to succeed. I think Dr. Strange and the EDM staff do an outstanding job of being there for students and helping with anything we need. Their knowledge is something that should definitely be taken advantage of.

Learn to Change, Change to Learn

Education ranked lowest in IT intensiveness? Below coal mining? What?!

This video was mainly about how we teach and how technology is important in the classroom. This is so true. Just as Dr. Miller points out that we are no longer restricted to libraries for research, the same goes for schools. This is not the only place that children can learn now.

The new 21st century set of literacies are described as what one can do with information; can you find it, validate it, synthesize it, leverage it, communicate it, collaborate with it, problem-solve with it?

One of the main problems presented in this video is that technology children are using to communicate via email, text, and instant messages, are either banned or is not being utilized. We are not reaching them on a level that they are a) comfortable with, or b) can easily relate too.

We need to focus on teaching them how to use technology to benefit them. It can be used for so much more than texting and funny cat videos.

Scavenger Hunt 2.0

1. Edmodo is an amazing site. I’ve been ranting about it for a while now. I like to describe Edmodo as Facebook for teachers. Edmodo allows you to add “groups” which are basically virtual classrooms. Within these groups teachers can give assignments, quizzes, start discussions and even take polls.

There are quite a few reasons I like this site so much. The first being that this is a great way to get my students involved. It also a great way to turn your classroom into an environmentally friendly class. The main reason I like this so much is that it will allow my students access to me even when school is out. If they are at home doing an assignment, they will always be able to contact me through our virtual class.

2. I found MakeBeliefsComix in Related Links from Web 2.0. Here is my comic:

3. For creating a poll, I used PollEverywhere. You can respond to my poll here.

Friday, March 8, 2013

C4T #2

For this C4T assignment, I was given Mrs. Elvira Deyamport’s blog, Language Journeys. She is a Gifted Education teacher for grades 2-6. I highly suggest that you look over her blog. It contains a lot of excellent material.

Comment #1

My first comment was on her blog post, Telling Our Stories with Social Media. She starts out by sharing Diigo . Diigo is an amazing social bookmarking tool. She provides a very nifty link for a list of Diigo resources.

Mrs. Deyamport recently attend MECA, which is her state’s educational technology conference. She tells us about Eric Sheniger, who she describes as her social media hero. She continues to say that “he is the example of how school leaders can utilize social media to tell our stories and implement effective change within schools”. I have already bookmarked his web page.

Showcasing the work of her students is only part of what Mrs. Deyamport is trying to achieve. She also wants to show the world what is actually done in gifted education. When I commented, I introduced myself and thanked her for sharing Diigo. I told her that I found it very useful, and couldn’t wait to share it as well. Seriously, check out Diigo here. I also told her that I admired her approach and thought this was a good way to inspire a sense of pride and accomplishment. I ended my comment by asking if she had any other tool she could suggest. I am happy to say that Mrs. Deyamport replied to my comment almost immediately. She suggested I look into a site called Edmodo, and let me just say, wow! This will definitely be something I incorporate into my classroom. For the sake of space, I won’t go into detail, but this video is short, precise, and very informative. I’m not sure if this is something we will discover in EDM 310, but we should. I highly recommend it, on good recommendation.

Comment #2

My second comment was on Mrs. Deyamport’s post, Talking About College with Gifted Kids. In this blog, she describes the way she approach talking about college with her gifted students. She used three different projects to help them.

The first project she used was “text self-portraits”. The students were asked to draw a portrait of themselves using words that describe their personal qualities, aspirations, interests, talents, and career goals. She posted a picture of one that was incredible. Here is an example of what I mean.:

The second project she used was “Career Trees”. This is exactly like a “text self-portrait”, only the image used to display their message is a tree, or something other than their faces. She also posted a picture of one of these. Although not a very good one, here is an example:

The third project they worked on was podcasts. Her students created podcasts in the form of talk shows to help provide collegiate information. One of the podcasts was like radio show called The Do’s and Don’t’s of College, and the other provided more specific information for UAB college.

When I commented, I told Mrs. Deyamport that I loved this post, and enjoyed the podcasts so much that I had to share with everyone in my office. I told her that I really enjoy the things she posts on her blog and plan to do these projects with my students in the future. I mentioned that after I post this, my obligation to comment and follow her blog would be fulfilled, but that I plan to continue to follow anyway in hopes of taking advantage of anything I may find valuable from her blog.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Blog Post #7

There is so much to this lecture. An entire book has been derived from this lecture. I had to watch this lecture multiple times, but it was well worth it. I wanted to watch it again and again. Pausch’s last lecture was beyond inspirational and contains an extensive amount of advice on life, learning, and teaching. The overall positivity that Pausch advocates and exudes stood out to me. Bottom line, despite the odds, a positive outlook is essential to achieving anything.

“Wait long enough and people will surprise and impress you.” This meant a lot to me as an educator. All students have immense potential. Sometimes it may take longer to show, and some students may just need to be given the right tools. My students should always know that I would never give up on them; another of Pausch’s pieces of advice, never give up. Just as I shouldn’t give up on them, they shouldn’t give up on themselves. Dreams can be achieved if you work hard enough for them. “Brick walls are there to provide us with an opportunity to prove how badly we want something.” No matter what path we choose to take in life, there will always be obstacles. To get through these brick walls and achieve the things you want, you can’t give up.

Not all childhood dreams come true, and that’s okay. This is just as important to teach my students as not giving up on their dreams. Sometimes these are the best instances to gain experience. “Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.” The things that we do not achieve are often replaced with adapted versions. In the lecture, Pausch shares his childhood dream of playing in the NFL. While that didn’t happen, he learned many things in the time that he did play football that helped him considerably in other aspects of his life.

Encouraging creativity, raising the bar, and pushing my students to do more are just a few things I plan to consider when educating my future students. There is just so much that I took from his lecture! Teaching the fundamentals and following it with fun, technology based projects will be a major method for me. I would also try to allow my students to see where they stand among others. I hope this will encourage them to try harder and do more. I want to provide them with substantive feedback, but I also want to recieve feedback from them. This will give me a chance to teach the importance of critics that Pausch emphasizes.

I will be able to provide my students with assignments that will allow them to be creative and still utilize fundamental rules of English. I would like to stray away from a traditional English class and give students a real chance to both realize and reach for their dreams. Writing can be an excellent way to self-reflect; something that Pausch felt was very important to teach.

Throughout his entire speech, Pausch focused on other people. He explicitly states “you can’t get there alone”. Networking is crucial. The way you deal with people is everything. Be loyal, show gratitude, cherish criticism, and talk to people in the right way. Word usage is key when communicating. There are many different ways to say the right thing and it’s all about the way you say it. This basically comes down to be a good person, a good friend. Always do the right thing. The relationships that you build will become a major stepping stone in the things you accomplish.

I could write incessantly about the ways Pausch’s lecture can be adapted into my teaching and personal life. His lessons apply to life, me, my students, everyone. I recently began reading the book, The Last Lecture, and I’m looking forward to finishing it. If you haven’t at least watched the lecture, you should. Pandy Pausch’s Last Lecture was amazingly inspirational, and definitely worth the hour and sixteen minutes.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Project #8: Podcast

February's C4K Assignments

Week 1: Nick C.

Nick describes a photograph that he looked at. He said the flags in the picture was interesting and that he saw boats, the ocean, a fish chips sign, and a girl using a telescope. He also thinks that he saw a bird and its nest.

I told Nick that I liked the words he choose to help him describe what he saw. I asked him if he described a beach picture because he liked the beach. I also told him that he done a good job and to keep it up. He seems like he could use a bit extra help with his writing, but another teacher had already commented and suggested that he read aloud, so I only commented on the positives of his post. I wanted him to feel confident enough to keep writing and blogging.

Week 2: Lakereya

This was Lakereya’s first blog post. She told us a little about herself. She was born on 7/17/2004, and has one brother and three sisters, with another little sister on the way. She really hopes that everyone will enjoy her blog.

I told Lakereya that my name was Jeanette and I go to school at South Alabama. I asked her if she got along well with her siblings, and told her that I bet she was excited to meet the newest little sister she will have soon. I concluded by praising her writing skills, and telling her that I can’t wait to follow her blog throughout the semester. I also told her that I was very impressed and to keep up the good work.

Week 3: Kyan

Kyan’s blog post was a Google Presentation about himself. He likes video games, anime, Bruno Mars, and Lamborghini cars among other things.

I told Kyan that he done an amazing job and I was very impressed after I introduced myself. I told him that I was a fan of anime and video games as well. I asked him if he enjoyed using technology to do projects like his presentation. I explained that my favorite part about using technology was communicating and sharing with people all over the world. I encouraged him to keep up the good work.

Week 4: Harper

Harper’s blog post was about her mom. Harper says that her mom is so sweet and the best ever because she gives Harper kisses and tucks her in. They are about to move out of Grandma’s house and Harper will miss her vey much.

I told Harper hello, my name, and where I went to school. I told her that mom did sound very awesome and asked if she was excited about moving even though she would miss her grandmother. I told her that her blog was well-written and I was very impressed.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Blog Post #6

The Networked Student

There are amazing things that learners can do with technology and networking. Wendy Drexler’s video, The Networked Student, demonstrates this. There are innumerable ways in which to access information of all variety. Not only is the information readily available, most people are able to access it anywhere, at anytime.

Of course we need teachers. Just as the video states, there are many roles that a teacher will take on. We are the source that students will come to for help, guidance, and mediation. In a sense, it is our jobs to be the experts. By the time we have students of our own, we should have a well-rounded knowledge of beneficial tools for them to use. I do think that younger children should have more time with their instructors. There are many obstacles that will arise from adopting networked learning, but considering the benefits it really is worth it.

If I must answer the question of whether or not I am ready to be a networked teacher, I feel that I must answer truthfully. Currently, no, I am not. I am definitely ready to become one though. I have so much work and learning and just exploring in general to do. My knowledge of the things available is still very primitive. Obviously, this will change over time as I take more classes, study new things, and build my network. I am, however, quite confident that I will do very well for my future students. I think students deserve the very best of what we can offer them.

A 7th Grader’s PLE

My favorite thing about this video was when the student mentioned that by having freedom it inclined her to act responsibly. Awesome! She has obviously put a lot of work into developing her PLE. I was very impressed! Her PLE is ver similar to my PLN. I use Symbaloo as well. It really is a great tool.

I also have some of my personal things organized into my home webmix. I have set Symbaloo as my homepage so that everything I could possibly want to go to is right there at the tap of my finger. While I already have lots of things listed in Symbaloo, I am always searching for new things to add.

Project #10: Finding The Right Tool

My current C4T assignment is Language Journeys, a blog by Elvira Deyamport. She recently suggested a few things to me and one of them was Edmodo. I have done a good bit of research on this tool and can’t wait to use it. I am not entirely positive that this will not be discussed in EDM 31. I have not yet heard about it from this class, and am very intrigued by it.

I plan to teach middle/high school English, so this will be a perfect way to integrate technology into my classroom. There are so many things you can do with Edmodo. One of my favorite things about Edmodo is that it can turn my classroom into a more environmentally friendly one. My students can turn in assignments electronically. I think that this is a good way to keep them excited about English class, and it will also take care of most of the organization for them. Everything will already have a proper place. I’m sure this will save me a few excuses of what happened to assignments. Besides these things, using this site will allow me to be readily available to my students even while they are at home working on individual assignments. The concepts behind using this is brilliant as well. Just by joining in discussions they are utilizing written communication skills, technological skills, interpersonal skills, etc. The list goes on and on.

There is so much to be discussed and shared about Edmodo, but for the sake of length I will simply refer you to some YouTube videos that I found extremely helpful. Jeffery Hollo created a tutorial video for teachers broken down into three parts. Here is the link for part one. Parts two and three will appear at the top of the right hand column of suggested videos. He does a very good job of explaining everything you need to know.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Blog Post #5

Who is Krissy Venosdale?

Krissy Venosdale has been teaching for the last ten years. She is currently a gifted education teacher. I want to say based on clues throughout some of her posts that she teaches in the St. Louis area. I think she has some excellent standards on what education means, and how one should go about educating. I would definitely suggest that you check out her blog here.

If I Built A School

If I built a school, the teaching styles would coincide with Ms. Venosdale’s ideas. Creativity, innovation, and collaboration would be a few of the things at the top of my list. I would also try to make the environment warm, inviting, and cozy. I would try to give the school a collegiate feel. Students will be able to choose their schedules. I would allow them more personal freedom outside of class to connect and discuss with friends over lunch or snacks. I think this will also help them develop more effective time management skills. I could go on and on and be very thorough. I could describe everything down to the color of paint in the hallways; however to compensate for time and length constrictions. I will leave it rather vague.

Virtual Choir

Wow! This was so awesome! Absolutely mind-blowing! Not only did it sound amazing, but this is truly an example of technology at its best. All of these people performed a very complex piece together completely over the internet. None of these people has met before in person, yet still managed to collaborate in order to create a stunning piece of work. While this was entirely about a virtual choir, the principle can be applied to almost anything. I think the most important thing is that this is a shared experience. You are a part of something bigger, as Mr. Whitacre says in his talk on TED. I think the world has a way of making us as individuals feel extremely small. With collaborative projects such as Mr. Whitacre’s virtual choir, people can feel as if they important, something bigger than just themselves.

Teaching In The 21st Century

I think Kevin Roberts touches some key issues. I can understand exactly where he is coming from. Times have changed. Students don’t need someone that will give them facts and dates. We are able to google anything, anytime, anywhere. We all, for the most part, have a device on our persons that allow us to access almost any knowledge in the world within a matter of moments.

I think for me, as an educator, this means I need to focus less on facts and information, and more on skills that come into play once the information has been accessed. Students need to be prepared to use technology, to harness creativity, to innovate, and think critically. They need to know what to do with the information. I think this all goes back to teaching our students to learn. If they are able to learn, to innovate, they will make use of the information that have their fingertips.

Flipped Classrooms

I think this is an amazing concept! It makes so much sense that I can’t believe we didn’t utilize this kind of system sooner. Lectures bore the mess out of me; they can be hard to follow, teachers sometimes speak too fast or too slowly, or even too monotonously. This system of educating allows students to watch lectures instead of wasting valuable class time trying to focus on what is being said. If all lectures are in video form, students are able to go back and watch them as they please. They can pause, rewind, fast forward, etc. With this step being taken care of outside of the classroom, educators can step in and use their class time as an opportunity to make sure that everyone has grasped the concepts and are correctly applying them.

The increase in time for individual (or smaller group) instruction will be the most benefical, in my opinion. I have always went to class, sat through a lecture, told myself “yep I got it”, only to get home to start homework and realize that I have no clue what I’m doing. With a flipped classroom, lectures are readily available when I need them, and I will also have time with my teacher to make sure that I am not practicing something incorrectly.

I think this is an amazing system. I will definitely utilize these methods in my classroom. I am so thankful that this was an assignment!!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Blog Post #4

Langwitches Flat Stanley Podcast

The first graders at Langwitches read Flat Stanley and then decided to go on some flat adventures themselves. With the help of their parents, the students chose a location and wrote briefly about their flat adventure there. Each student then recorded their adventures, and was combined to make their Flat Stanley podcast.

Langwitches Listening-Comprehension Podcasting

In this blog, students record sentences from the Hebrew story Purim. After they finished recording their sentences in Garageband, they connected the computer to a smart board. This allowed the students to be able to use their fingers to drag the sound clips of their sentences into the proper order. The kids were able to have lots of fun with the project and experience a hands-on approach. They are also learning to use new technology, but the post strongly emphasizes that the lesson was not about the technology. The students learned speaking and listening skills, comprehension, and collaboration to name a few.

The Benefits of Podcasting in the Classroom

Joe Dale presents a video clip by Doug Saunders called Podcasting In The Classroom. The clip describes the benefits of using podcasts in the classroom. Some of these benefits include: ease of use, opportunities for distance learning, and promotes creativity and innovation. Mr. Dale also provides video tutorial links on how to podcast and how to do so using garageband.


There is no doubt that podcasting is a very useful educational tool. Given that English is my subject of choice, podcasting will be a fun tool to get my future students interested in the literature we learn about. I definitely plan to incorporate podcasting into my classrooms due to its effectiveness and simplicity. Podcasting will give students a genuine sense of pride and accomplishment in their work. What I find most interesting about the use of podcasting, is that the students do not even realize that they are learning much more than just the story. I think, from the view of a first or second grade student, that this would be an incredibly fun project that would mask the “dreaded” learning behind it. Also, while it promotes proficiency with many types of technology, it also teaches very basic skills such as reading, writing, speaking, and listening. With the basics covered already, it even goes a step further to add comprehension and collaboration skills. These resources will definitely be helpful when it comes time to work on my podcast assignment. The main things I learned was that I needed to be sure to speak clearly and plan what I want to say in advance. I tend to be much more comfortable writing rather than speaking. Focusing on what I want to say and how to say it beforehand will help me to be more comfortable.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

C4T Blog Post #1

Comment #1

For my C4T, I was assigned Connected Principals. My first comment was on ”Be More Interested Than Interesting” posted by Chris Wejr. In his blog he states that he has spent too much time trying to be interesting online and too little on being interested offline. The main thing he wants to do is focus and actually do more. He tries to emphasize that you need to be interested in the things going on around you. I’m sure this includes everything that you are involved in online as well. The main point is exactly his title, be more interested than interesting. Although his personal focus was on doing offline, the general principle is outstanding.

When I commented on this post, outside of introducing myself, I applauded his resolution to be more interested. I agreed with him, and shared my passion for helping and being interested in others. I ended by thanking him and asking if he planned to do a follow-up blog later. I am interested to see what comes from his endeavors.

Comment #2

The second blog from Connected Principals that I commented on was ”The Heart of the Matter” posted by “dkerr”. I was unable to find the author’s full name. This post proposes that we lean towards trying to identify the cause of problems for “underachieving” students. It expresses how often teachers tell their students that they need to try harder or focus more. The post states that we should take a look at our programs, assessment expectations/practices, and the way we generally approach struggling students, and then begin to make changes. The author told us that he had recently read a book called Speaking of Boys by Michael Thompson. I plan to read this, and hope that I find it as amazing and enlightening as the author of this blog post.

When I commented, I introduced my self, and explained that because I am a student in the field of education that I was able to understand this post from the view of both student and teacher. I agreed with the changes the author suggested and commended their level of passion for helping their students and trying to get to “the heart of the matter”. I also told the author that I will be following the blog and, asked if they would be willing to write a follow-up blog.

Special Blog Assignment #1

I love WolframAlpha! I had no idea this even existed before being assigned this special blog. There are astounding amounts and types of information to be found. When I done the original comparison between populations of India, China, and America, I expected to find the populations and percentages. What I didn’t expect was the extent of information readily available. Not only is the population listed, but there are also population ratios, densities, growth rates, life expectancies, and even median ages. Better still, WolframAlpha offers visuals! As they say, seeing is believing. I couldn’t wait to get started on my other two required searches, and I’ve done multiple more since then.

Search #1

I may have had a bit too much fun with this assignment! Since I ended up doing so many different searches and the uses for WolframAlpha are almost endless, I had to choose which ones to write about in my blog. For my first one, I used WolframAlpha to help pay for dinner with friends. We forgot to ask the waitress to split the bill for us! I payed for everything on my card, but still needed to know how much my friends needed to reimburse me. I am not a math person, so this was extremely nifty! I did already know that WolframAlpha was capable of this from personal research. This is what I typed in as my search phrase: $93.27, 15% tip, 4 people. Directly below this paragraph is a screenshot of my search results. You can see that I found exactly what I wanted to know (amount per person, including tip), along with lots of other information as well.

Search #2

Jeanette doesn’t seem to be common name. I have never met anyone that shares my name. So, for my second search I entered: number of people named Jeanette. WolframAlpha provided me with the estimated number of people alive named Jeanette, the population fraction, expected rank (I assume to mean name popularity), and also the most common age of these people. It is so much fun to have such unlimited access to information. I took this a step further and added “vs Summer” to my search phrase. I’ve included another screenshot below. It gave me all the same information but compared the two side by side.

How Can We Use WolframAlpha?!

There are so many ways that WolframAlpha can be used. I done a good bit of snooping around this site. I found a WolframAlpha blog that has the specific category for education! How cool, right? You can visit that blog by clicking here. More specifically, I recommend that you consider reading this blog posted by Richard Clark. In this blog, Richard shares 10 more questions that kids can answer using WolframAlpha. I was especially fond of the way it could lay out mathematics. I wouldn’t really know where to start explaining the ways in which this can be beneficial to my students, or myself. I haven’t failed to find anything I’ve searched for yet. The possibilities are endless!

Technology And Educators

I have a lot of catching up and a lot of keeping up to do. The advancements in technology just since I was a child are mind blowing. EDM 310 has really opened my eyes! I think outside of “just doing my job”, I’ll have to continuously teach myself as well. I think this same principle needs to be instilled into our students. Be a life long learner. Research outside of the box. It has already been discussed that most jobs people will hold 10 years from now do not even yet exist. How do you prepare for something like that? I say feed your intelligence, explore, be creative. Learn to learn. I think as an educator it should be a priority to enhance adaptability. Of course students need to know all of the basic things you learn through school, but I do not think that it should be put far above creativity and innovation. It is with these, I believe, that students will excel most.