Sunday, April 29, 2012

Blog Assignment #13

I don’t think I have ever realized how much technology influenced my life until I had to give it up. It was one of the toughest challenges I faced in this class. My phone, computer, and and TV are constantly being used around the clock.

No cellphone
I started my “no technology” trial at 12 AM Thursday. I knew this would be the easiest day for me since I had work all day and one class. I woke up at 8 AM and left my phone in my purse so I wouldn’t be tempted to use it in the morning. I got ready without out using the television, and then drove to work.
I use a computer the whole time at work, so I can’t really avoid that, but I didnt use my phone the whole day. I also challenged myself by not going on the internet. It was very hard to do because there were times when I wanted to check it and see who had been trying to contact me throughout the day. I also was tempted to check Facebook, and the weather, or even the news. I ended up using my phone one time because I had to contact a classmate I had to meet up with and study.
When I went to class, I left my phone in the car so I wouldn’t be tempted to use it through lecture. That was the only technology that was available at that time so the challenge go slightly easier. When I left class and headed home, I left my phone in my purse, again, so I wouldn’t be tempted. When I got home, my family had the TV on, so I just walked past and went to my room. I also left my computer in the living room so I wouldn’t be tempted to get on Youtube or Pandora. I did some of my bookwork and took a shower. Because I didn’t have anything to watch or use, I just decided to go to bed early.

This was was a pretty difficult challenge. The TV and computer were slightly easier to avoid but my phone was the hardest part. I use my phone for so much. It’s the way I communicate with the world. It was very hard when I wanted to search something or contract family and friends. There were times when I just wanted to listen to music, but I couldn’t. Doing this assignment help me realize that maybe I shouldn’t be so dependent on a small electrical device. It also opened my eyes to realizing that I don’t have much of any other type of entertainment because technology. I need to start finding othering things to do besides watching TV or talking on the phone.

C4T #4 - Summary

The Teacher I had for C4T #4 was named Mr. Doug Peterson. His blog was named Doug- Off the Record. Throughout his blog, he discusses new types of resources that he finds on the internet and some of the things his friends are doing on the internet.

The first post I commented on was about different types of personal home pages. he talked about certain ones like Tizmo, Symbaloo and Foks. I was familiar with Symbaloo because that is what I use for my PLN. Tizmo is a very simple homepage. It has pictures of what each website looks like that you decide to use. Foks is a bit more complicated.It has over 100 different sites. You are still able to add your own personal sites but there are so many from the start that there really isn’t any room to add more. I commented to Mr. Peterson that I had never heard of Foks before but I actually like it better than Symbaloo because you don’t have to search for each website you want on there, since it already has so many sites.
Google A-Z
The second post I commented on was called Google A-Z. A friend of Mr. Peterson’s was creating a list called Google A-Z. I just thought this was a cool idea because Google has come so far. I remember when it used to only be used for searching the internet. Now you are able to do so much on Google, like create documents and blogs. I commented to Mr. Peterson that the list was a great idea and if his friend is able to fill the whole list, then it’s going to show how much Google has improved over the years.

Final Report on my PLN

Personal Learning Network
My Personal Learning Network has been nothing but helpful to me for the rest of this semester. When I last reported, I wasn’t using it that much because I was still getting used to it and it was confusing to me. Then, I set it to my home page and it helped me more than ever. At first, I only had websites that I could use on my spare time like shopping sites and music entertainment. I later added sites that I could use daily like South Alabama’s homepage and other websites that I use for my other classes. My PLN was always very convenient when I had to get to a website quickly, or if I found a new website, I could always add that site to one of my squares. After EDM 310 is over, I will keep my PLN as my homepage because it helps me stay organized and it helps me surf the web in a quick and fashionable manner.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Blog Assignment #12

When I graduate, I plan on teaching Special Education. We had a Special Education assignment which discussed how technology helps special needs students. I have to say, this was my favorite. But unfortunately, we only had that one assignment. This was slightly disappointing because I am going to be receiving a certificate to teach it, but I’m not familiar with ANY of the technology or devices special needs students use.

So, on that note, the assignment I am choosing to create is to find one device/technology for each of the following types of students:
A) visually impaired
B) hearing impaired
C) physically disabled
Once you have found one device/technology that helps each type of student, write a summary about it that explains how it works and how it helps the student in the classroom. Provide a picture of the device found.

Here is my example:

Visually Impaired
Screen magnification software is used by people with visual disabilities to access information on a computer screen. The software enlarges the information on the screen by pre-determined incremental factor. magnification software has the flexibility to magnify the full screen, parts of the screen or provide a magnifying glass view of the area around the cursor or pointer. These programs often allow for inverted colors, enhanced pointer viewing, and tracking options.
screen magnification software

Hearing Impaired
Text Telephones (TTYs) are the telephones that deaf people use to communicate with others on the telephone. These look like small typewriters and come with an LCD screen and a cradle for the telephone. In order for a deaf person to call on the TTY, the person on the other end must also have a TTY. There is a national relay system that the deaf person on the TTY can use to call anyone who does not have a TTY. This helps students by keeping in touch with classmates and teachers.
text telephones

Physically Disabled
Switches are a common solution for users with mobility disabilities, such as muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries, and head injuries, who need to use computers or other electronic devices, but have difficulty with the physical interface. To allow easier manipulation than a standard keyboard or joystick, a specially-designed switch may be composed of a single button, merely a few buttons, a sensory plate, or another of the whole host of adaptive switches available; it may also be touch-free, relying instead on motion sensors, brain activation, or a sip-and-puff mechanism. Aside from simplifying user interfaces, switches can also be used as developmental aids, teaching children (or adults) how to interact with their external environment.

Creating this assignment actually taught me a lot about special needs devices. I’ve realized that special needs students used certain devices, but their devices need technology for them to work efficiently. Even though I only got a brief lesson through my assignment, it makes me excited for when I get to learn more.

Special Post #12A: Creativity and Curiosity - My Thoughts

I personally believe that schools do not destroy creativity in students but they certainly do not push to express creativity. In elementary school, students are required to go to classes like art and music weekly, where a lot of creativity is expressed. But as these students get older, they are given a choice of what classes they want to continue with. In high school, you need a certain amount of fine art credits to graduate, but many student just take classes like basic art, just to receive those credits. By the time students get to high school, the interest for those fine art classes are gone, because their main focus is academics.
I think a curriculum can be created that will increase the curiosity of students. When students are limited to what they are supposed to know and learn, they shy away from asking questions or thinking past the required curriculum. I think the key component of a curriculum that would help students to be more curious is open discussions. When the teacher does all the talking and just tell the students what to do, then there is no way they are able to express any curiosity. With open discussions, students will have the opportunity to express themselves and ask questions. Students will ask questions if they are given the opportunity.
I think students are born with curiosity, but don’t always have the opportunity to be curious. Many student don't ask questions, they just do what they are told. Teachers are able to increase the curiosity of students by limiting the information provided for them. When they are doing assignments, they can have their students ask questions and what they feel they need to know about the work they are going to be doing. That will cause the students to branch out for more information. Another way is for teachers to discuss something that the students will be more interested in. That will make the students more curious and want to find out more information.
I am naturally curious person and will ask anyone anything, but not everyone is like me. If I wasn’t curious, I think discussing things that interest me would make me a more curious person. When I take classes discussing topics that I don’t really care about, then my curiosity fades away. I don’t want to know more about something I’m not interested in. But sometimes I can’t control that because I need those classes for my major.

Final Project Progress Report

My group, CLLL, is working well on their final project. We have decided to incorporate some of the tools we’ve used in class such as the Smartboard, video making, iMovie and Google Docs to keep up with our information.  There is four of us in the group so we’re coming up with ways to include us all equally. I don’t want to give too much information since our idea is secretive, but I’m excited to continue working on it and ready to see the final product.

C4K Summary for April

For the month of April, we participated in the world blog challenge. I really enjoyed it because I was able to comment on the same student for three weeks in a row. The student I had was named Andrew. I was able to learn a lot about him.
One the first week, I commented on a post by Andrew about 10 things about him. In his post, he stated some of his interests like Lacrosse and video games. He also expressed his love for the New Orleans Saints and football in general. From his post, I could also tell that he enjoyed being outdoors because he goes 4-wheeling, his family owns a farm, and he loves playing with his dogs. I commented to him that he had really cool interests and he and told him that NO Saints are the big team down here.

Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream
Next, I commented on a post from Andrew about his home state, Vermont. I have never been to Vermont before or have never known anyone who has been there, so reading this post was very exciting. In his post, he discusses why he likes Vermont so much and what he does there. He gets to eat Ben and Jerry’s ice cream pretty often and Vermont makes most of the US’s maple syrup. He also tells his audience that it is not a very crowded state. He gets to be around all his friends and family. The last thing he mentions is that there are no natural disasters. I commented back to Andrew that I had never been to Vermont before but it sounds like a really fun state to visit. I also told him about our Natural disasters down here like Hurricanes.
The last post I commented on for Andrew was about Littering. He gave a lot of great facts about littering and how we need to stop. He stated that the most common litter items are fast food, beer bottles, and soda cans. Many animals eat the bags and trash that is left on the roads and die of suffocation. He told his audience to help stop littering and recycle when you can. I commented to him that he presented some really good information and that littering is a horrible problem that needs to be controlled. I enjoyed commenting on Andrew’s blog. He is a very bright and interesting student.

Auckland, New Zealand
Also this month, I commented on a student from room 9 at PT England School in Auckland, New Zealand. My student’s name was Mubashshir. He seemed to be very interested in technology because be had the most blog posts out of his whole class. The post I commented on was about his trip with his family to a carboot sale. He made a video describing his trip. He said that he went with his mom and sister, and they bought things like clothes and shoes. He mentions how they get really good deals. I commented to him how much I enjoyed his video and how I thought a carboot sale would be really fun to experience. I enjoyed his post because it was cool to see what other families do in other countries..

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Blog Assignment #11

Little Kids...Big Potential is the perfect way to describe the students in this video. These first graders from Canada are doing more with technology than I did before this class. Their video, First Graders in Ms. Cassidy's Class, shows the activities they do with technology throughout the year, like blogs, Nintendo DS's, wikis, commenting, and videos. Their teacher, Ms. Cassidy, educates them on everything they do. This video shows the exposure to technology that many first graders get around the world. This helps me to know how important it is to stay updated on new technology, and how much I need to keep up the skills I already have. Technology is definitely a part of life, and exposing students at a young age is the right thing to do because they will never be able to escape it. If they start building skills now then it will do nothing but help these skill grow for the future.

kids and technology
Our professor, Dr. Strange, had a Skype Interview with Ms. Cassidy about her teaching strategies and how she became big on doing technology with her students.She explained at the beginning that her school had computers but they weren’t able to put any programs on them. She wanted to make use of the computers which started her technology journey.Through her journey, she was able to get some funding through the government which help a lot.
One thing about Ms. Cassidy’s process that I liked is the form she explains. It is a form that explains to the parents that they students will be working with technology and some of their work is going on the internet. This is definitely very appropriate because there are so many creeps out there that teachers must protect their students from. Dr. Strange asks how the parents react to the online work of the students and Ms. Cassidy says that the parents really like it because they get to keep up with their child’s work and their progress throughout the year and she uses it as an electronic portfolio. The viewers also find out how blogging helps her students. She explains that it improves their writing because they know that people are viewing their blogs and makes them want to write better. The college in the area where Ms. Cassidy teaches comments on her students’ blogs weekly and helps bring out writing skills.
Ms. Cassidy helped show me how to be a technology oriented educator for the future. She showed me that a little determination and drive will help you accomplish anything you want to in your classroom. I know I’m going to try and incorporate a lot of technology in my future classroom because I want my students to be successful with technology when the time comes for them to us it in their future careers.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Blog Assignment #10

Do You Teach or Do You Educate?

Teaching is a very rewarding gift, but from this video, I’ve realized that educating is even bigger. In Do You Teach or Do You Educate?, a video created by FWYL Foothill College (2006), there are different definitions for teaching someone and educating someone. With teaching, the teacher explains, shows, encourages, and they give information. With educating, the educators inspire, enlighten, and empower. Educators are known as a trusted and experienced mentor. Basically anyone can be a teacher, but it takes that special someone to educate.

When watching this video, I interpreted it as teachers do the bare minimum for students to pass and learn what they need to so they can move on. An educator will go the extra mile for their students. They will not only teach what needs to be taught, but they also reach out as a mentor that students can learn from. When I get my degree, I plan to be an educator because I want my students to want to learn, yet be inspired by me and my journey to success. I know I will be able to give my all to my students. But I know I have to get used to putting in the extra time and wanting the best for my students. If you want to be a successful educator, you must educate yourself first. I'm going to try to educate myself to the best of my ability so my students can learn from the best.

Don’t Let them Take the Pencils Home!

Wow, what a post! A teacher trying to be an educator and improve the his students while an academic specialist shuts the whole idea down. In Don't Let them Take Pencils Home!, a teacher is told not to to allow his students to bring their pencils home because it results in low test scores. The teacher tried to defend his students by telling the academic that he doesn’t agree with the research and believing that they can change the paradigm. When the academic specialist asks how, the teacher proceeds by telling her about the parent pencil program which gives the students and their parents a chance to do projects with pencils and not just think they are a toy. But then the academic specialist shuts him down by saying the students are going to be playing hangman and tells him not to blame her when his test scores are low.

The first thing that really stood out to me about this post was the negativity from the academic specialist! I don’t like how the specialist doubted the students without even giving the idea of the program a chance. I believe anyone working with students in a school should always have hope in them. Anothing thing about this post was grasping the idea that this specialist was so serious about the students not being able to take pencils home. I would have never thought that it would affect the score of a test but they did a whole study on it, so it may be true. I believe Mr. Johnson stood his ground with his argument of don’t believe everything you hear. He tried to give his students the benefit of the doubt by creating a program for them to explore the use of a pencil. He knew his students’ parents were not exposed to pencils on a daily basis and wanted to expose everyone that is involved with the student to use a pencil for learning. It never said if it worked or not but I hope he was able to pull through with his ideas.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Blog Assignment #9

Mr. McClung's blog post were a really good read. It showed to the struggles of a new teacher and how he overcame the situations he went through. I like how Mr. McClung was able to let his guard down and tell the work what happened through his first 3 years as a teacher. This is the type of blog that I know will help me in the future because eventually I will be in his position. Blogs like this one will help me avoid and be conscious of the mistakes that are out there.

The first post I read by Mr. McClung was his very first school year as a teacher. What I learned this school year (2008-09) states that he learned so much from the beginning to the end of the school year and decided to share his journey. I like how he broke everything down with titles that were his lessons he learned. Some of the titles were Learn how to read a crowd, Be flexible, and Communicate. Reading a crowd is important to do as a new teacher because you can make the mistake of not making your lessons student-based. McClung noticed that with a lot of teachers. With his teaching personally, remembering that student comprehension is key. Flexibility seemed to be a really important lesson to McClung and was something that I got a lot out of. He states to his audience to be flexible with your lessons because none of them will be as perfect as one may strive for. I can relate to this because I know when I start teaching, I am going to want everything I do to be perfect, and will be upset if they’re not. But I know that I am going to have to try hard to not beat myself up over the little things. Like McClung says “ When things go wrong, simply work with it and try to better the situation.....and make sure you do it with a smile on your face!” Communication is the biggest advice you can give for any job. As a teacher, there are so many people you have to communicate with which include students, parents, other teachers, and your bosses. The toughest part about communication as a teacher is you have to learn how to talk to each group of people because they are all different. McClung states that it is the hardest skill to learn, but I hope to gain practice and master it as best I can.

The second post I read was Mr. McClung’s second school year. In this post, What I Learned this School Year (2009-10) started teaching jr. high students at a new school with a different subject. The advice he gives in this post is on a different level as the first, seeing as he now has experience. and he’s learning how to make himself a better educator. He uses the same concept of giving advice through his titles. Some of the topics that stood out to me were Adapt, Check your Ego at the Door, and don’t lose sight of what is important. Adapting is very important as a teacher, especially if you plan on teaching in a new area. Sometimes you have to adapt within your own school like with the lessons you teach. I hope to be able to adapt without any problems when I begin teaching. I’m sure it was hard for McClung to check his ego at the door. It’s necessary to do what it takes for students to learn and worry about how you will look in front of your students. Unfortunately, Mr. McClung had some issues with his administration. But he remembered that he had to conduct himself in the classroom because he is not teaching for the drama, he’s teaching for the students. I agree with McClung on this situation. I feel that there are always going to be problems in a workplace, but with teaching, you have to put the big picture first, which is the students. I didn’t get to read Mr. McClung’s third post, but I’m sure it’s full of advice that will help a lot of third year teachers.